5 Tweaks to Take Back Your Privacy on Facebook

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You have to stay on Facebook to see photos of the nieces and nephews and stay in the loop about Friday drinks—but you don’t want to offer up too much of your personal data to Zuckerberg’s all-seeing network. So what do you do? These five tips will help you grab a little bit of your privacy back.

1. Prevent your likes from turning into advertisements


You’re probably familiar with seeing ads based on what your friends have “liked” on the social network, but you don’t have to have your own thumbs-up activity turned into marketing fodder.

From the Facebook Settings page, choose Ads and then open up the Ads with my social actions section. Change the drop-down list at the bottom to No one and presto—these kind of ads are hidden.


2. Stop Facebook from tracking you outside of Facebook

Facebook keeps eyes on you when you’re off of the site, but via the same Ads page, under Ads based on my use of websites and apps, you can change this—you’ll still see the same number of advertisements, just less well-targeted ones.


For a more comprehensive opt-out of this cross-site tracking, visit the Digital Advertising Alliance and follow the link by Exercise your choice. It’s also worth installing a privacy protector extension like this one to make sure.

3. Disconnect third-party apps


It’s not just Facebook that knows what you’re up to on the social network—it’s all the other apps you’ve connected or logged into using your Facebook credentials. Fortunately, disconnecting these apps isn’t difficult.

From Settings, click Apps and then the Remove icon next to any apps you want to boot out. If you choose Edit instead, you can change the permissions of the connected app, dictating what info it has and what it can post.


4. Hide your Facebook profile from search engines

If someone searches for your name, then your Facebook profile is probably going to be among the top results . If you’d rather have your profile unlisted, you can effectively hide yourself.


Inside the Settings page on the site, choose Privacy and then click Edit next to Do you want search engines outside of Facebook to link to your Profile? Note that it may be a few days before the change takes effect.

5. Block unwanted content


Facebook also gives you more granular control over the ads and content you see in your News Feed, so you don’t have to accept the status quo if the site is targeting you with content that you have no interest in.

Open up the drop-down menu next to any advert in the feed and pick Hide advert to stop seeing similar sponsored posts. Choose Why am I seeing this? to ban an advertiser completely and access more advertising options.


Header image: Gil C/Shutterstock.com