by LUCAS NOLAN
Facebook regularly collects data on its 1.4 billion daily active users worldwide — here is how to find the information they have collected on you.
The Daily Mail reports that Facebook may be tracking your Internet habits even if you’ve never registered an account on the site. Facebook states that this information is used to target specific advertising towards users and for other security reasons —explaining why you may suddenly see ads on Facebook for a new lawnmower right after you searched the internet for “gardening supplies.” Although it is not really possible to stop Facebook tracking your internet habits, Facebook users can download the information that Facebook collects, so at least you have a firm grasp on what the Silicon Valley giant knows about you.
Facebook tracks user activities on more than 10,000 websites using invisible trackers called Pixels, these record information about users when they visit one of the sites and transmit it back to Facebook. Information collected by these Pixels include your IP Address, computer operating system, where you’re located, which sites you visit the most and what you do on these websites.
Nick Wingham, a reporter for the New Zealand Herald, downloaded his personal file from Facebook and discovered a huge collection of data captured by the social media platform. The file included old videos he had taken on his phone, copies of tenancy agreements, bills for his internet service and screenshots of bank transfers. The file also contained basic chat logs and other site activity records.
Getting a copy of your own personal data file is quite easy. Simply log into Facebook and follow these steps:
- Click the drop-down arrow beside the question mark icon on the toolbar and select the “Settings” option/
- This will bring you to a “General Account Settings” page, at the bottom left of this page you should be able to see text reading “Download a copy of your Facebook data.” Click this to begin downloading the information that Facebook has collected on you.
Facebook has come under fire for their tracking of Internet users in the past. In February, a Belgian court ruled that Facebook must stop tracking users that don’t have an account registered on the website or face a fine of up to $305,000 a day. European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) spokesperson Johannes Kleis stated at the time, “This is a big win for internet users who don’t want tech companies to monitor every step they make online. What Facebook is doing is against Europe’s data protection laws and should be stopped throughout the EU.’