Do you know how much data Facebook collects about you? Do you care? You should.
I care, and have cared for many years. Today I’m taking the leap.
We live in an age of data-consumption and data-trade. We have never used online services, streaming and social media, as much as we do now. It is bound to continue growing in the years to come.
Have you ever stopped, looked at the services you use and thought to yourself: Is this worth it? Is it the right thing to do? Does this align with my own values? Do I want it to know this much about me?
Facebook captures an unprecedented amount of data about you, whether you want it or not. By having a Facebook profile and visiting websites, which use their tracking tools. You’re helping Facebook create enormous datasets with your information.
Recently Apple began requiring apps to be transparent in what data they collect. Try finding Facebook’s app in the App Store. Look at the data it collects about you. It’s not only limited to what you’re sharing. It’s your whereabouts, what you’re searching for, what you’re buying, how your health is like and much more.
Oh, and it’s not only Facebook that gets this information. Facebook shares it with all their advertising partners. That that’s how Facebook makes money.
Here’s the full list:
What can you do about it?
I’ve thought about deleting my Facebook and Instagram profiles for years, but have had a hard time doing it. Because of family, friends and “staying in touch”. I had to have a Facebook account for business purposes.
I did the next best things.
I went through all Facebook’s privacy settings, and turned them on or off, depending on what the setting does. But, while you can do this, it’s up to Facebook to respect the choices.
I installed the Facebook Container extension in my browser.
I use Firefox, we’ll save my thoughts about Google for another blog post.
This fences any website that uses Facebook’s technology, into its own garden. The result: My data isn’t tracked across websites and given back to Facebook.
I deleted the Facebook app on my iPhone, forcing me to use it in its own garden, in my browser. Fun thing, this was harder than I thought, humans have strong habits. But after a couple of days, I didn’t miss it.
Having done all this, I felt more safe, in control. But underneath it all, a growing unrest had started. I wanted to cut the ties.
By trying to isolate myself from Facebook as much as I could, I had a profound interest in protecting my data. This was a huge mental change for me. From always wanting to use all the latest tech, to vetting each service I use, and am about to use.
What you should do!
Delete your account on Facebook, Instagram, Messenger or any other service associated with this privacy-neglecting behemoth.
Don’t wait multiple years, like I did, act now.
I know I will be missing out on something, by deleting these accounts. But I know the real connections will prevail.
You can collect all your data, before deleting this way:
Facebook: Download your information – I only had 192MB worth of data. I know people who had tens of gigabytes.
Instagram: Download your information
Alternatives, now that you have deleted your account:
Twitter: Follow people who interest you. Bonus, you get to choose your timeline. My handle is @matiasvad
Signal: Talk to friends and family, privately.
Messages/Phone: You know, the tech already available on your phone, if Signal is not your thing.
At the time of this writing, I am collecting the data I have shared to Facebook and Instagram. Within 24 hours I will be deleting my account, and never looking back.