This detailed and step by step guide will explain how significantly boost your online privacy by changing several of the Facebook tracking settings.
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
- 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.
- Choose Settings
- Now choose Privacy
- This time select Your Facebook Information
- Finally, select Off-Facebook Activity
- From the What Can You Do menu, select Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity
- 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.
- Once again you’ll be prompted to click a Clear History button – do so.
- Confirm that your info has been cleared.
- On that same screen, look for the More Options menu and then select Manage Future Activity from that list.
- Click the Manage Future Activity button.
- Toggle the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch to OFF
- 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.
- Before you move on, confirm that the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch has been turned OFF
- 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.
- This time, choose Ads from the Settings menu.
- Click Ad Settings in the Ad Preferences menu.
- Locate the section titled Manage Data Used To Show You Ads and click the Data about your activity from partners link.
- Toggle the Use Data from Partners switch to OFF
- Back in the Manage Data Used To Show You Ads section, click the Categories used to reach you link.
- 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.
- 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
- Toggle the Allowed switch to OFF.
- 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.
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.
- 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.
- Android users, sign into the Facebook app and tap the “3 dashes” button (see screenshot below) scroll down a bit and select Settings & Privacy
- Select Settings
- Scroll to the Security section and then select Off-Facebook Activity
- Tap the Clear History link.
- Tap the Clear History button.
- Now select the More Options link in the What You Can Do section.
- Choose Manage Future Activity
- Tap the Manage Future Activity button.
- Finally, toggle the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch to OFF
- Nope not really finally – yet again, tap the Turn Off button.
- After having to tap your way through so many screens, make sure that the Future Off-Facebook Activity switch is set to OFF
- 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.
- And again select Settings
- This time, scroll down to the Ads section and select Ad Preferences
- Tap the Ad Settings button.
- In the Manage Data Used to Show You Ads section select Data about your activity from partners
- Toggle the Use Data From Partners switch to OFF
- This time in the Manage Data Used to Show You Ads section choose Categories used to reach you
- Switch everything off.
- Last one – in the Manage Data Used to Show You Ads section choose Ads shown off of Facebook
- Toggle the Allowed switch to off.
- Done! Facebook will still show you ads, but you’ll notice that they’re much less ‘targeted’ now.
2 thoughts on “How to Stop Facebook From Tracking You”
Hi Kathleen –
Did you use the right section for your device? Eg. if you’re using an iPhone or Android phone, start at the section titled “Disable Facebook Tracking via the Facebook App”. If you’re using a laptop or desktop, start right at the top. Hope this helps!
This isn’t what I’m seeing when I try to stop FB from tracking me. I followed your info to the letter, but it doesn’t match what I’m seeing :-(