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Facebook is Now Tracking You Across the Entire Internet – Here’s How to Stop It

Facebook gets a lot creepier thanks to its new privacy policy.

Paul Tamburroby Paul Tamburro

Facebook has updated its privacy policy, with existing users agreeing to the new terms and conditions simply by logging in to the social networking site. However, this new agreement is a shady one to say the least, with it allowing Facebook to gather data from your activity on other websites, essentially tracking your internet usage in order to “personalize” your Facebook experience. This essentially boils down to more specific ads being targeted to you.

Facebook has said that the company has sent email notifications to its users to alert them to the new changes, along with putting in place a “seven day comment period” that allowed them to discuss the updated policy. The new system is set to come into place on February 28th, and if you’ve already noticed how ads on Facebook are creepily able to deduce which websites you’ve been visiting, then after the end of this month there’ll be a lot more of that happening. 

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Select parts of the new policy can be opted out of through Facebook’s ad settings page, which you can access right here. However, the policies that you can place restrictions upon through Facebook itself are only limited to “social adverts,” which pairs your usage with that of your Facebook friends’, and Facebook giving third-party sites access to use your name or picture. The latter is an ad tactic which Facebook isn’t implementing right now, but can still be opted out of in case the site changes its policies once again in the future.

If you want to prevent Facebook from tracking your internet usage altogether, then you’ll have to contact the Digital Advertising Alliance in the US, or its European and Canadian equivalent, which will prevent individual Facebook ad targeting altogether. You can also alter your settings with your mobile device to prevent Facebook tracking you via your smartphone.

This is what Facebook has to say about the new policy: 

“One of the ways ads reach you is when a business or organization asks Facebook to show their ads to people who have used their websites and apps off Facebook. For example, you might visit a company’s website that uses cookies to record visitors to it. The company then asks Facebook to show their ad to this list of visitors, and you might see these ads both on and off Facebook. This is a type of interest-based advertising.”

For those who are already suspicious of Facebook’s increasingly ad-focused, privacy-infringing business practices, then this new move will likely come as little surprise. Unfortunately, we value our privacy far less than we used to, so it’s difficult to imagine many of its users actively seeking to prevent the social network from tracking their footsteps on the internet and following up their concerns with the DAA.