Despite the fact that the ever popular social network is free to users, Facebook is still a business. If you’ve ever set up an advertisement through Facebook, you know that the site allows its customers to get extremely specific with their targeting, and that’s because they’re constantly collecting data about you based on your activity on the site.
It isn’t all smoke and mirrors though, and you can find out exactly how much Facebook knows about you pretty easily.
The Scandal That Started It All
In 2017, news of a group called Cambridge Analytica collecting the data of Facebook users and their friends by shady means rocked the public’s faith in Facebook. Since then, people have become much more conscious of the kinds of apps they connect to their accounts, but that doesn’t mean Facebook itself isn’t collecting information about you.
If you want to know the sorts of things that Facebook is keeping tabs on, all you need to do is take a simple trip to your account settings.
Digging Into Your Footprint
Everything action you take online leaves a trail, but on Facebook that trail is collected and used to place you in a number of categories. Here are the steps you can take to see what information Facebook has on you:
- First, login and click on settings, then on ads
- This will bring up a range of tiles Facebook thinks you’re likely to interact with, and the headings include hobbies, technology, news, and businesses
- Head to the lifestyle and culture tab to see where Facebook thinks you fit into politics, among other things
- Click the “about you” section rather than “your categories” to see the hard facts Facebook has collected about you: things like how you browse the site, how often you travel, your relationship status, and more
These steps should bring you up to speed on everything Facebook has recorded about you, so you can see how your social media interactions are being recorded, and decide if you’re comfortable with it.