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Is Facebook tracking me?

Updated on July 13, 2016

Have you logged onto Facebook in the past few months and been targeted with an advert relating to something you recently looked up on your device? For the majority of people the answer to this will be yes. Only a few days ago I searched for the new Jaguar using safari on my iPhone, that evening when I opened the Facebook app I was met with an advert for the new Jaguar XF. This was a very strategically placed targeted advert, and you need to remember that the reason Facebook is free is because we the users are the product. It was reported in the states that Facebook makes approx $7 a year for each and every user by giving marketers access to a defined market based on search history and social patterns of users. Now I have no issue with this, my issue however is I was carrying out searches for the above Jaguar car on safari and not through the Facebook app and this is where it gets a little scary. If I did not use the Facebook app to carry out a search how did I get an advert targeting me for this item? Well my guess is that Facebook is actually monitoring my activity on my phone even though I have it pretty well shutdown. You will notice on all of these adverts that at the top right hand corner there is a little arrow when you click this you get a drop down menu. On this drop down menu you will see the option "why am I seeing this?" This is Facebook's way of telling you why you have been targeted with a specific advert when I clicked on this I got the above information.

As you can see it specifically notes that this information is based on information from your profile and here is the important part AND YOUR DEVICE! Now you can limit Facebook right down by enabling all of your privacy setting but there is no option to click that says "stop spying on my applications outside of Facebook". The issue is if I have limited all of my privacy setting to the highest level how is this information still been obtained? And what information is Facebook gathering from my device? We know that tracking cookies are more than lightly the reason that Facebook can obtain this information so there is one way to stop this, you could stop your device from receiving cookies. This however is not a great solution as you need cookies enabled in order to log into any site where you may have a user account otherwise your session won't run so you can see where the issue lies if you were to turn them off. This means that until someone comes up with an iron clad way to stop tracking cookies from monitoring your online activity it's up to you how much information you really want to share


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