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You Probably Don’t Know All the Ways Facebook Tracks You

We’re all aware of the deal we make when we sign up with Facebook: we get somewhere to post vacation photos and stalk friends, and Mark Zuckerberg gets to sell your passion for fishing trips to fishing equipment retailers. What you might not realize is how deep or extensive the tracking goes—so let’s shed some light on it.

All of this is well within Facebook’s remit. You’re using its services and, per its privacy policy, it can do what it likes with the data you hand over: Facebook’s full privacy policy is here. There are some ways to limit the reach of Facebook’s data-sucking tentacles (and we’ll go through them below), but ultimately the only way to really get back all of your privacy is to delete your account.

Some of the relationship between your actions of Facebook and how Facebook uses those actions for financial gain is immediately obvious: like a page on Coke, and you see more adverts for the fizzy beverage. But less obvious are the ways Facebook joins the dots between the data points it collects, building up a picture of who you are and what you might be interested in—whether or not it’s 100 percent accurate doesn’t really matter, because it can still sell targeted adverts at a higher rate.



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