Facebook is curiosity-prone

ByElsa Sc S

Doing her graduation from LUMS & a keen researcher


September 11, 2023


Elsa Sc S looks at an
irritating scenario

Curiosity-Prone – It is now an acknowledged fact that Facebook and Instagram are designed to surreptitiously listen to their users. This is a dangerous tendency as it severely compromises the rights of individual privacy. This aspect of these global cyber social platforms is deeply resented and governments and cyber experts are working hard to ensure that this unethical practice stops. Though Facebook says it is not literally activating the microphones on smartphones but it is tracking what the users do in other apps, websites and even real-world stores. That much data can make ads feel as on-point as if it was in the room. Most experts warn users not to be fooled by the kinder, gentler image of Instagram, either as it is also owned by Facebook and does the same kind of tracking as Facebook.

The need to take steps to avoid snooping is the order of the day and it is imperative that appropriate precautions are put in place. These changes only impact what Facebook and Instagram can learn about the outside of their apps. Everything one does inside the apps — from tapping the “Like” button to posting status updates and profile information — will still feed the company personal information and anything one makes public can be seen by people and companies alike. Therefore, the following steps may prevent Facebook tracking and may save some the individual privacy.

Many experts suggest quitting Facebook and Instagram. This is a radical step that would compel the apps to beg the user to stay and will encourage to just temporarily deactivate the account for a while. But if one does not fully delete accounts on both services, Facebook will no longer build out a profile with your activities to target ads. Before doing this, one might want to download a copy of the data from your Facebook account. To quit Instagram, it is a similar process as click on the link in web browser where one is logged, pick a reason, such as privacy concerns and tap Delete. There is one privacy downside to quitting Facebook: The company still receives and collects data about people who do not have accounts. The only way one can actually see what it knows about him or her is to maintain an account.

It is also suggested to change these Facebook privacy settings. Facebook has lots of bad default settings one should change but the most important one to combat tracking is called Off-Facebook Activity. While one is at it, it is recommended changing a setting that gives Facebook permission to connect into other apps and websites. Just know that adjusting this setting would keep one from logging into apps where one used Facebook to set up your account.

One can limit app tracking on phone. Starting in the spring of 2021, Apple began letting iPhone owners tell apps like Facebook and its many partners to do less tracking. Each app can ask permission individually but it is most efficient to go in and change one universal setting for the iPhone. Google has announced a version of this is coming to Android phones starting at some point in 2021. In the phone privacy settings, look for an option that lets one opt out of ad personalisation. By early 2022, one should be able use this setting on any Android app that came from the Google Play store, regardless of the version of Android one is running. When it comes to the privacy, not all web browsers are built the same. The most popular one, Google’s Chrome, does nothing to stop Facebook, along with a lot of other companies, from tracking how one surfs the web. Unfortunately, Google has not let tracker-blockers like these in its Play Store for Android phones.

One way, Facebook learns about one is when other companies send it one’s email address or phone number or some other way to identify the user. Facebook then matches up this info with the account associated with that email. One can send Facebook an email — one that the user never really check or hand out to other companies. That might make it harder for Facebook to find the user. If one has an iPhone, the Sign In With Apple service included with the iOS operating system creates a different throwaway email address for every single app one use it with. That is an even better way to make sure companies cannot cross reference who one is.

One can also tell companies to stop selling consumer data Laws give consumers the right to tell companies to stop sharing, or selling, data to Facebook and others. The only problem is that the user will have to tell them to knock it off one by one. This can be a lot of work but if one has got some time, one might want to start with data brokers, who are in the business of collecting personal information from all over and then reselling it. The Weekender


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