Ways to Prevent Facebook from Tracking Your Online and Offline Activity

While the matter is debatable, it certainly appears as though Facebook has changed its tactics after hitting Wall Street. You could attribute the change to the pressure of losing money, shareholder calls or the heat of competition, but either way, the result is that Facebook is desperately trying to increase its revenue.

Obviously, making Facebook a paid website would not be the greatest idea, so what else could be done? The company started to share your data with companies for advertising purposes. Facebook now co-ordinates with data mining experts who track and combine your email address with other details that you share on this social networking website.

More importantly, they also focus on tracking offline purchases to increase  the efficiency of advertising. This has not gone down well with the site’s users, especially those who are careful about privacy. If you’re one of those individuals, then we have good news. You can actually prevent Facebook from stealing data.  There are two ways to do this:

Separate Online and Offline Data

Online and Offline Data

Data mining companies don’t have a magical wand with which they extract your data. They simply use software and databases to compare data registered against your name. For example, the number you used to register on Facebook can be used to discover your shopping preferences.

How does this happen? If you use the same number to avail gift and discount cards provided by Big Bazaar, Pantaloons, Reliance Fresh and so on, the data mining company will match it with data from malls and stores for a better idea of your offline and online activity. This is just one example; a lot more can be deduced with information such as your email id, residential address, website and blog details.

So the logical solution is to cut the link between offline and online data. For instance, you can use a different email id to register for discounts or a different phone number while availing rebate cards at malls. There would be no data to match and therefore no privacy intrusion.

Opt Out

Datalogix

According to details published in Financial Times, Datalogix is the company behind the data collection of Facebook users. Facebook argues that this collaboration would offer better data to marketers and advertisers, but not many people are happy about it.

Anyhow, you can actually opt out of the Datalogix collection by following these simple steps. Visit the company’s website and find their Privacy page. Then go to the heading ‘Choice’ and select the ‘click here’ option to provide all details. This will remove all your data collected by the company, including Facebook.

Are these steps too tricky for you? You can also simply click on this text to opt out. However, you need to understand that it works just like other advertising based on cookies and so it is necessary to perform this action on every device and browser that you use.

Ending Notes: Do you really need it?

There’s always a flip side to the coin. Privacy advocates don’t really like the idea of sharing personal information, but I will have to act as the devil’s advocate as well. From Facebook’s point of view, it could actually help increase your overall social networking experience.

You might like to see more personalized ads with great discount offers. For instance, if you are into gadgets, wouldn’t it be nice to be offered great deals easily? The cost however, is your privacy. Your preference between the two is what matters most.

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