Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Deleting Off-Facebook Data

As Slate reports, as of yesterday, Jan 28, 2020, Facebook now offers a dashboard that will show how advertisers send data to Facebook about you - even about your offline activities.

The page is a doozy, as many report - and shocking in how it lays bare the ubiquitous tracking that invades our lives. Nearly every app use is tracked, every purchase - whether online or not - is tracked, seemingly even being near participating stores is tracked.

Here's a few things you can do:

1. Download all of your "Off-Facebook" activity.
  • Go to the Off-Facebook Activity page, then click "Download Your Information" on the right. 
  • Click "Deselect all" on the top right, then scroll to the bottom and click "Ads and Businesses". Scroll to the top and click "Create File".
  • Wait a minute or two. You'll get a notification when it's done. Download the file, look around. Yep, it's bad.
2. Click "Clear History" on the top of the Off-Facebook Activity page.
3. On the right, click "Manage Future Activity". Click through the prompts to disable future correlation of this data with your account. 

A few other things you can do - not comprehensive, but a good start:

1. Install Privacy Badger (https://www.eff.org/privacybadger), which will help disable some of the online trackers that caused this data to be collected in the first place.
2. Reset your mobile phone advertising IDs (Settings > Google > Ads > Reset advertising ID on Android, Settings > Privacy > Reset Advertising Identifier on iOS).
3. Install an ad blocker like uBlock Origin.
4. Consider installing a Pi-Hole inside your network to block transmission of data to known advertisers while at home.
5. Disable tracking via your credit card:
  - Mastercard
    - Web Analytics
    - Data Analytics
  - Visa
    - Marketing Report Opt-Out
  - American Express
    - Privacy Center
  - Discover
    - Online Advertising Opt-Out
    - Call 1-800-225-5202 to opt out of data collection (yes, really)
  - Other Tracking Resources:
    - IBA Opt-Out - Opts out of a large number of services. Turn off your ad blocker for this one.

If you have other opt-out links to share, please put them in the comments and I'll update this post.

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