Facebook is one of the most used services there is, yet many people don’t like the way it seems to know too much about them from their Facebook log in activity.
Not only does it learn your likes and dislikes when using Facebook, but it also appears to know your location on Facebook with scary accuracy when not using Facebook.
Some users may not think this too much of a risk, yet these are the users who are unaware that Facebook can track your web browsing activities outside of FB. While they may use these themselves, they can pass your information on to third parties for targeted ads, while you’re using your device.
In our guide, you can learn how to cut down on these third party ads and stop the social media giant tracking your movements when online. You can do all this without having to delete Facebook account or delete all Facebook posts.
How to Stop Sharing Location
If you wish to take the first steps and turn off the Facebook location sharing, you can do so following these few steps for Android and iOS.
- Head to the home screen of your device
- Tap on ‘Settings’ and then tap on ‘Applications’
- Scroll down the list then tap on Facebook when you find it
- Under the Permissions tap ‘Location’
- Toggle this to off
- Head to your iOS device home screen
- Tap on ‘Settings’ and scroll down to ‘Privacy’
- Tap on ‘Location Services’
- Toggle the ‘Location Services’ to off
On iOS devices, you can select when Facebook can have access to your current location.
Find Facebook in the Location services and select from Always, While Using the App, Next Time or Never.
How to Turn off Location on Facebook
The above helps reduce the amount of location information Facebook gets from your device. However, inside Facebook, you can find a feature that can also help.
You can learn here how to mask your location Facebook has access to. The Facebook activity tool or the Off-Facebook activity tracker helps users by itemizing websites, apps, and physical stores, which Facebook knows you have been. The activity tool allows you to turn off this tracking.
Much of the push came from Mark Zuckerberg and the ‘clear history’ tool that was in the middle of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Using the tool, you can find all your activity over the past 180 days. You may be surprised, not all this information just comes from Facebook, and it comes from their advertising partnerships, which include websites and third party cookies from sites and mobile apps.
Step 1: Click in the top right of Facebook
Step 2: Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ then Settings
Step 3: Tap ‘Your Facebook Information’ in the left column
Step 4: Select ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ to review.
Here you can select Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity for more information. You’ll be asked to re-enter your password to confirm any action you take.
Here are some of the things Facebook does with your personal information
- Shows you more relevant ads (you can change this with Ad Preferences)
- Suggest more groups, events, or Marketplace items that may be of interest.
- Helps discover new businesses
- Helps a business or organization understand how websites, apps or their ads perform
- Helps identify any suspicious activity to try and keep Facebook safe
As much as Facebook users do to prevent Facebook tracking their online activity, there is one thing often forgotten.
Google can see you as much as Facebook can. While you can turn location off in Facebook, Google still has the ways to see your location even when you tell it not to.
Here are the ways to disable this in your mobile devices.
- Head to Settings
- Select Google Settings
- Select Google Account info
- Tap on the Data and Personalization tab
- Select Web & app activity then toggle it to off
- Scroll to Location history and toggle this to off
- Tap on the left-hand navigation bar for your Google account
- Select Manage your Google Account and then on Personal Info and Privacy
- Scroll to My Activity (opens settings in a web browser)
- In the left-hand navigation bar, select Activity Controls, (you will see Web & app activity)
- Toggle to off then scroll to location history and toggle this to off
How to Stop Advertising in Facebook?
One of the issues with Facebook is that you can’t turn off the targeted ads altogether.
Luckily, you can steer the ads to ones you may be interested in and in a reduced number.
To hide Facebook ads from a particular supplier
Step 1: Click in the top RH corner of the ad
Step 2: Select ‘Hide ad’
Step 3: Follow any further on-screen instructions
If you wish to hide all ads from any given advertiser, you can carry out the following steps.
Step 1: Click in the top corner of the displayed ad and select ‘Why am I seeing this?’
Step 2: In the ‘Options’ drop-down menu, select where it says ‘Hide all ads from this advertiser’
Step 3: Follow any further on-screen instructions
If you find you have many different businesses that are sending ads, you, unfortunately, need to carry out these instructions for every ad you no longer wish to receive.
You can opt-out of Facebook’s targeted ads by using the following two stages.
Here you will carry out the following:
- Turn off online interest-based advertising and ads with your social actions.
- Launch your Facebook app and then swipe to the tab furthest to the right
- Scroll down to the bottom and select ‘Account Settings’
- Select Ads and then make sure to tap on Ad Settings
Here, you can see two types of ads that can be disabled. First are from sites you visit and any other apps that use Facebook technologies.
In the other area, you are removed from Facebooks Audience Network (Used to present you with ads even if you aren’t on the social network).
In the second part, you tackle the ads with your social actions. Here, you will end up disabling the feature where Facebook uses your likes and interests as a means of presenting you and your friends or family with the right ads. You can disable this or limit it to friends.
Does Sharing Location Use Data?
Once you begin understanding, when you sign in to your Facebook profile, you are giving information to Facebook for their purposes.
One thing users ask when accessing the social media platform on a mobile device is, does the sharing of your location eat up your mobile data?
You can head into the settings of your device and turn the location settings to the device only (in Android). By doing this, you will only use the in-built GPS inside your phone.
Any websites or apps can’t see what you are doing, and thus you won’t consume any data.
If the setting uses ‘Network location data,’ then you will use a small amount of data like your location is continually updated as you move around.
Another feature that was included in Facebook is Live Location.
It is mainly available in the Facebook Messenger for Android and iOS devices. It makes estimating times of arrival much easier and more accurate. To activate this, you can follow these guides.
- Tap location icon and select ‘Location’
- You have a blue bar pop up, and you can share your location for 60 minutes
- You can stop the sharing if you wish
- Tap the location icon
- You have the blue bar to tap and set your live location for 60 minutes
- You can see how long it will take you to your destination
With both, you can set locations where to meet, etc., although it does have security issues because you are showing places you aren’t as well as the location you are.
What’s the bottom line?
While there are a few ways how to stop Facebook tracking my web browsing, one of the best tools to do this is to use a VPN.
When you use Facebook with a VPN, you can confuse Facebook trackers. It is easy to set your location as in another country, so from your Facebook activity in conjunction with the Facebook activity tool will make your Facebook appear in another country, and you can stop third-party cookies making sense.
It takes a combination of ways, yet you can reduce the intervention of your privacy when using the above.
You will also find it isn’t only the Facebook tracking apps, which can’t see what you are doing online. Neither can your ISP, third party, or any hackers who may take an interest in your data.
You can even hide your email address from sight when you’re using email to send an encrypted email.