Facebook openly admits that the service is free simply because the company sells your information to advertisers. It’s not hard to understand this.
What is hard to understand, however, is just how much information you could have given to Facebook since you’ve been using the service. Everything that you’ve “Liked” has said something about your tastes. Everything that you’ve posted can be data mined by clever advertisers for more information.
You may have even heard about Facebook’s newest marketing tool. It’s a massive ad network designed to distribute everything everywhere. This ad network takes advantage of the massive amount of data that Facebook has for all of its users. It’s more than you’d think, that’s for sure.
Facebook’s ad network takes the knowledge that Facebook has about you and applies it to almost any app on your smartphone. This means that you could be seeing some confusing ads in your future.
What can you do about it? Here are three ideas that might just bring you the help that you need.
1. COVER YOUR TRACKS
Think of Facebook like a massive desert. Every “Like” you’ve given out on Facebook is another footprint that marketers can use to figure out what your ideal “oasis” might look like. By oasis, I mean stuff for you to buy.
Not only that, but Facebook’s new ad network could mean that something that you’ve liked in the past could be used to advertise someone else’s product. I don’t know about you, but I’m not one for giving out a free endorsement just because I clicked the like button years ago.
Luckily, there’s a way to clear your Facebook footprint. Facebook Privacy Cleanup Tool will systematically run through every one of your likes that Facebook has on file and erase them one by one. Simply visit the website, click the button and you’re good to go.
2. CLEAN UP YOUR FRIENDS LIST
The more friends you have, the more likely you are to not see posts from the people who you love. Sound weird? It is. Facebook quickly figured out that there’s no way to show every single post on Facebook. While the exact algorithm for how the site shows you posts isn’t publicly available, the company has admitted a few things.
- Facebook shows you more posts from someone who you “engage” with through likes, comments or just clicking on their photos
- The site tries to group you with people. Based on who Facebook assumes your closest friends are, you’ll see different posts
- Posts are shared more widely when Facebook deems the event to be “important.” Words like “wedding” or “anniversary” in a post will probably be seen by more people.
Here’s the funniest part about how Facebook notifications are distributed: The people who you argue with the most are probably the people who you’re most likely to hear from. Whether you’re an iPhone fan and they’re an Android die-hard or you just can’t agree on a favorite TV show: Arguments usually mean increased engagement.
This means that it’s actually best to not interact with people who you don’t enjoy hearing from. Or you can unfollow them, which I teach you how to do in this helpful tip.
3. KEEP TRACK OF THE DATA YOU POST ON FACEBOOK
How do you keep track of the data you post on Facebook? Well, depending on how much you post it might be impossible. What you can do, though, is keep track of who can see posts after certain dates. You do this by keeping to a Facebook “maintenance” schedule.
Facebook gives you tools to manage your presence on their site. While this won’t protect you from advertisers and information brokers, it will make sure people on your Facebook friends list won’t get too much information if they snoop around on your profile.
How do you know what needs fixing when you perform your Facebook “maintenance” check? Here are some of my most helpful tips.