Tips for Facebook users who want more privacy

Posted at 3:08 PM, Aug 19, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-19 15:39:10-04

Users may now block companies “following” and tracking them on Facebook.

Facebook users who are connecting with friends and sharing things with them (such as dinner or wedding pictures) are also sharing a whole lot of other things often without even realizing it. When a user signs in to a site with his Facebook login — not to mention each time he downloads an app — those companies can “see” the user's profile … and all the personal information that goes along with it.

If a user shares that info with friends, then the apps they logged into can see it, too. 

To clarify, though, “Facebook hashes and anonymises all the data to protect user’s privacy and gives it back to partners in bulk so they can’t identify individuals,” according to this Business Insider piece. Still, though, by having access to a user's info, advertisers can show ads very specific to them.

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There are two main things a user can do to maintain more Facebook privacy when it comes to ads and companies knowing a little too much:

1. Get out of ad tracking
Log in and go to your “Settings” (in the dropdown menu on the upper right of your Facebook page).
Find the “Ads” button (on the bottom left).
Click on each “Edit” button and CHANGE THEM ALL to “No one” (versus “Only my friends” or whatever else it may say).
Don’t forget to “save changes."

2. Get rid of app companies
Click the “Lock” symbol (on the upper right).
You’ll see “Privacy Checkup” at the top, but look at the bottom, where it says “See More Settings.” Click on it.
Then, look on the left again and click on “Apps.”
You will see lots (and lots!) of company apps come up. On the bottom, in the middle of the page, click on “show all.”
Place your mouse over an app, one by one. Then “edit” or “delete.”  
Users can also see what each app knows, from work history to a hometown.

Scroll down more, past all the apps, and users can see a couple things. On the left, something called “Apps Others Use” and, on the right, “Always Play Anonymously” (regarding games, of course).

With “Apps Others Use,” click on it for a fun surprise. Yes, that's where all the data is that a user's “friends” are seeing (which means that their apps can see it, too!). Uncheck the boxes (probably all of them) to manage privacy even more.

Regarding games, users can (and should) “Always Play Anonymously.” Use the “edit” button to adjust these settings.

With a few (or several) clicks of a mouse, Facebook users can succinctly manage all the companies following their every online Facebook move.