How to Stop Facebook From Tracking You

This detailed and step by step guide will explain how significantly boost your online privacy by changing several of the Facebook tracking settings.

Background

Facebook and the websites that you visit communicate with each other. Facebook calls it Off-Facebook Activity, and buried deep within the settings, you can disable it. Plus, you can clear any existing data (you might be surprised how many sites will be listed).

One of the differences that you’ll notice right away is that you won’t see any targeted ads from sites you’ve previously visited. You’ll still see the same number of ads, they just won’t be based on your Internet history and usage.

Facebook buries these settings, so here are step by step instructions on accessing them. If you’re using the Facebook app for iOS or Android, click here to jump down to the steps to disable Facebook tracking via the Facebook iPhone & Android apps. If you’re accessing Facebook via a web browser, the instructions are directly below.

Disable Facebook Tracking via the Web

  1. Sign into Facebook and then click the Account button (it’s the one in the very upper-right corner that looks like a triangle, see screenshot below). Select Settings & Privacy from the Account menu.
  2. the main Facebook Account panel with an arrow pointing at Settings & Privacy

  3. Choose Settings
  4. an arrow pointing towards a Settings button

  5. Now choose Privacy
  6. an arrow pointing at a Privacy link

  7. This time select Your Facebook Information
  8. an arrow pointing to a Your Facebook Information link

  9. Finally, select Off-Facebook Activity
  10. an arrow pointing to a link titled Off-Facebook Activity

  11. From the What Can You Do menu, select Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity
  12. screenshot of the What You Can Do menu in the Facebook Settings section

  13. Locate the Clear History button and click it. As an aside, you can see in the example screenshot below I had 339 apps and websites that shared my info with Facebook.
  14. an arrow pointing to a Facebook Clear History button

  15. Once again you’ll be prompted to click a Clear History button – do so.
  16. a Clear History button

  17. Confirm that your info has been cleared.
  18. a confirmation message

  19. On that same screen, look for the More Options menu and then select Manage Future Activity from that list.
  20. a More Options section with Manage Future Activity inside of it

  21. Click the Manage Future Activity button.
  22. a Manage Future Activity button



  23. Toggle the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch to OFF
  24. an ON/OFF toggle switched to ON

  25. Facebook will again ask you to confirm this change, so click the Turn Off button. Do you see the lengths they go through to discourage you from turning this stuff off? Not very cool.
  26. a Turn Off button

  27. Before you move on, confirm that the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch has been turned OFF
  28. an ON/OFF toggle switched to OFF

  29. Now that you’ve disabled Off-Facebook Activity, it’s time to adjust your ad settings so Facebook and other sites/apps stop sharing your info that way. Just like you did way back in steps 1 and 2, click the Account button (the one in the very upper-right corner that looks like a triangle) and select Settings & Privacy from the Account menu. And again, select Settings.
  30. an arrow pointing towards a Settings button

  31. This time, choose Ads from the Settings menu.
  32. an arrow pointing to Settings in the Ads section of the Facebook Settings

  33. Click Ad Settings in the Ad Preferences menu.
  34. an Ad Settings link inside of an Ad Preferences menu

  35. Locate the section titled Manage Data Used To Show You Ads and click the Data about your activity from partners link.
  36. a link titled Data about your activity from partners

  37. Toggle the Use Data from Partners switch to OFF
  38. an ON/OFF switch for Use Data from Partners turned ON

  39. Back in the Manage Data Used To Show You Ads section, click the Categories used to reach you link.
  40. an arrow pointing to a link titled Categories used to reach you

  41. Switch everything you find in the Profile Information section to OFF. The switches that appear here will vary based on the info Facebook knows about you.
  42. 4 ON/OFF switches all set to ON

  43. For the last time, go back to the Manage Data Used To Show You Ads section and this time choose Ads shown off of Facebook
  44. a link titled Ads shown off of Facebook

  45. Toggle the Allowed switch to OFF.
  46. an ON/OFF switch for Allowed ads set to ON

  47. Done! Finally! If you’d like, you can go through Facebooks Privacy Checkup now, but it’s very basic and unsurprisingly doesn’t even mention Off Facebook-Activity or most of the Ads stuff you just disabled.

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Disable Facebook Tracking via the Facebook App

For the most part this section uses screenshots of the Facebook app on an iPhone. If you’re using the Facebook app on an iPad, or on an Android phone or tablet, you’ll have absolutely no trouble at all following along. The steps and screenshots are nearly identical across all devices.

  1. iPhone and iPad users, open the Facebook app and tap your profile photo located in the bottom right corner (see screenshot below). Then scroll to the Settings & Privacy item and select it. Now jump down to step #3 below.
  2. the iOS Facebook app with an arrow pointing to the User Profile button

  3. Android users, sign into the Facebook app and tap the “3 dashes” button (see screenshot below) scroll down a bit and select Settings & Privacy
  4. the Android Facebook app with an arrow pointing at the Account button that looks like 3 dashes on top of each other

  5. Select Settings
  6. an arrow pointing at a Settings button

  7. Scroll to the Security section and then select Off-Facebook Activity
  8. an Off-Facebook Activity link in the Facebook app for iOS

  9. Tap the Clear History link.
  10. a Clear History link

  11. Tap the Clear History button.
  12. another Clear History button

  13. Now select the More Options link in the What You Can Do section.
  14. the What You Can Do section of the Facebook Off-Facebook Activity settings

  15. Choose Manage Future Activity
  16. a link titled Manage Future Activity

  17. Tap the Manage Future Activity button.
  18. a button titled Manage Future Activity

  19. Finally, toggle the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch to OFF
  20. an ON/OFF switch for Facebook for iOS and Android turned ON

  21. Nope not really finally – yet again, tap the Turn Off button.
  22. a Turn Off button

  23. After having to tap your way through so many screens, make sure that the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch is set to OFF
  24. an ON/OFF switch for Facebook for iOS and Android turned OFF



  25. Now we’re going to adjust some of the Ads settings so that your info isn’t shared that way. Start over by tapping your Profile photo from the bottom-right corner of the Facebook app and choose Settings & Privacy just like you did back at the start of these instructions.
  26. the iOS Facebook app with an arrow pointing to the User Profile button

  27. And again select Settings
  28. an arrow pointing at a Settings button

  29. This time, scroll down to the Ads section and select Ad Preferences
  30. the Facebook Ad Preferences section of the mobile app

  31. Tap the Ad Settings button.
  32. an Ad Settings button in the mobile Facebook app

  33. In the Manage Data Used to Show You Ads section select Data about your activity from partners
  34. an arrow pointing to a link titled Data about your activity from partners

  35. Toggle the Use Data From Partners switch to OFF
  36. an ON/OFF switched set to OFF

  37. This time in the Manage Data Used to Show You Ads section choose Categories used to reach you
  38. an arrow pointing at a link titled Categories used to reach you

  39. Switch everything off.
  40. a series of ON/OFF switches all turned on

  41. Last one – in the Manage Data Used to Show You Ads section choose Ads shown off of Facebook
  42. an arrow pointing at an Ads shown off of Facebook link

  43. Toggle the Allowed switch to off.
  44. an ON/OFF switched for Allowed Ads set to ON

  45. Done! Facebook will still show you ads, but you’ll notice that they’re much less ‘targeted’ now.

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