2020 was the year many Americans lost what love they may have had for social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter after a wave of censorship and big tech partisan politics made hundreds of thousands of users migrate to other platforms. The last couple of months have shown us an uncomfortable level of censorship from social media, leaving many Americans wondering if it will just be a matter of time before something they care about is also erased from the web. What a time to be alive!

As we make our way through January it's a good time of year to review some of the privacy settings on your accounts as well. Over the weekend KSAT News 12 shared the story of Facebook tracking its users 'Off-Facebook Activity'. If you didn't already know, Facebook tracks your activity even when the app is closed. Yup, your activity on Safari, games, google maps, they are watching it all even if your app is closed. The good news is you are able to limit their online stalking abilities with a few quick steps.

Turn off "Off-Facebook Activity" (Found under settings in Facebook, not your phone settings) 

  1. Use your phones "Settings and Privacy" menu and select "Settings"
  2. Scroll and select "Your Facebook Information", then select "Off-Facebook Activity."
  3. To turn this off tap "More Options" and then "Manage Future Activity".
  4. There is then a second prompt to select "Manage Future Activity" again. Now tap the off switch next to "Future Off-Facebook Activity".
  5. You can also opt to clear your history by heading back to "Off-Facebook Activity" and selecting "Clear history".

Good lord! It should tell you a lot when it takes that many steps to stop an app from spying on you. Why don't they make people who want to share this data opt-in instead of making us all go through a 5 step plan to get rid of the feature? Hmm. There is a link here to an instructional video that may be of additional help. Remember, this is under settings on Facebook and not the settings menu on your phone.

So what is the real reason "Off-Facebook Activity" is around anyhow? It's all to sell your data to a third party. That is as old as the hills. Our activity online produces data. This data is used by Facebook to force ads in front of your face. Many are worthless, others are things you already bought two days ago and are too late to make a difference. Facebook claims they are helping their users find better deals with the information. Wouldn't it be great if you had to opt into this stuff instead of finding out they are sharing our information after the fact and enduring some 5 step process to stop the sharing of information?

At the end of the day, it may be that this will never end. When you sign up for an account this is all in the fine print. So it's up to the user to keep an eye out for these kinds of changes and keep your settings up to date. Or, find a different platform.

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