The secret ways Facebook uses your data and how to stop it
The secret ways Facebook uses your data and how to stop it

Secret ways Facebook is breaching your privacy

Facebook is one of the world's most pervasive brands, one of the world's richest tech companies, and boasts more than 2.7 billion monthly active users.

And how does it make its money? As founder Mark Zuckerberg told US Congress: "Senator, we run ads". 

Facebook sells those ads using information about you. Here are 10 covert ways Facebook uses your details and what you can do to limit its spread.

1. Facebook tracks you

The Off Facebook Activity setting lists all the external apps and websites sharing data about you with Facebook; there could be hundreds. You can turn this setting off and clear your history.

2. Likes as endorsements

The company shows your social actions, such as liking brands, to other users. Turn this off in Ad settings.

3. Collects contact details

It gets details such as your name, email address and phone number from other companies you use and lets businesses use these details to advertise to you. Block them, one by one, in Your Ad Preferences. 

4. Knows your face

The social network analyses photos and video uploaded to it and assigns your face a "template" so it can identify you in media uploaded by others. You can turn this feature off and turn on Timeline Review to stop others tagging you without permission.

5. Guesses your interests 

To sell ads, Facebook predicts your personal interests based on what you view on its platform. You can check these in Ad preferences. 

6. Tracks your movements

The company can log your location even when you don't have its app open. Users should turn off Location Services and deny location permissions on phones to stop this.

7. Uses your contact list 

When you sign up to Facebook or install the app afresh, it asks for your contact list. It uses this to suggest friends and target you with ads. You can remove this after the fact in the Managing Your Data' section. 

8. Uses your number

The company's app regularly asks users to provide their phone number but last year was forced to admit it uses the information for advertising rather than security. You can delete it from Facebook's General settings.

9. Tells Google about you

Facebook profiles are indexed by Google so your information will show up in web searches. You can turn it off in Privacy settings.

10. Shares your details

If you've chosen Login with Facebook for an outside app Facebook will share your information with them. Turn that off in the Apps and Websites settings.