Life Hacks

How to stop Facebook from tracking your online activity via desktop, mobile

How to stop Facebook from tracking your online activity via desktop, mobile

Did you read an article about gardening and then all of a sudden your Facebook feed pops up with ads for potting mixes and seeds? Creepy right?

Here’s a quick trick to get rid of those creepy ads.

From the rise of Facebook account clones to online scammers striking back, the online community has grown more and more wary about securing their accounts on social media. Even the existence of “creepy” ads that continue to haunt users via desktop and mobile are being questioned. While we don’t have answers as to why there has been an instance of mass cloning within the platform, we do have an idea on how to stop the stalker-like Facebook ads from bugging you and it all lies within your “off-Facebook activity”.

According to their Help Center, “off-Facebook activity is a summary of activity that businesses and organizations share” with Facebook about our interactions – including apps and websites we visit. Those pages use Business Tools, like Facebook Login or Facebook Pixel, to share consumer information. The industry term for this phenomenon is remarketing — things you do on other sites can follow you to Facebook. Or Viber. Or Messenger.

These activities gathered by the platform are then used to show personalized ads that suit our interests; suggest groups, events, or Marketplace items that we might be interested in, and identify suspicious activities. Even though Facebook says that they don’t sell users’ information to anyone nor allow businesses and organizations to share sensitive information, we’d have to admit that it’s quite creepy when you see an item that you searched for elsewhere haunting you through your Facebook Feed for days.

Although it’s not something that we should panic about, here are steps on how you can manage your off-Facebook activity and disconnect your activity history from your account.

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To turn off the activity:

On your desktop computer:

  1. Click the drop down arrow on the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Select ‘Settings’ > ‘Your Facebook Information’.
  3. Click ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ to review all sites linked to the platform.
  4. Re-enter your password to ‘Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity’ one by one; or
  5. Select ‘Clear History’ if you want to disconnect off-Facebook activity history from your account.
  6. Click on ‘Manage Future Activity’.
  7. Click on the ‘Future Off-Facebook Activity’ toggle to disable the feature.

On your phone:

  1. Go to ‘Menu’ (three horizontal lines at the upper right corner of your app).
  2. Select ‘Settings & Privacy’ > ‘Settings’.
  3. Under “Your Facebook Information”, click on ‘Off-Facebook Activity’.
  4. Re-enter your password to ‘Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity’ one by one; or
  5. Select ‘Clear History’ if you want to disconnect off-Facebook activity history from your account.
  6. Click on ‘Manage Future Activity’.
  7. Click on the ‘Future Off-Facebook Activity’ toggle to disable the feature.

You’ll be surprised to see how many sites are accounted for in just a few years!

This is just one of the many ways to lessen our personal activity from being tracked online. While it’s not totally avoidable, at least now, we can stay away from items that we were so close to buying. That’s one easy trick to stay away from online purchase temptations and save money, too.

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