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 (, 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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