What does Facebook know about you?

Find out what they know, and what to do about it...
What does Facebook know about you?

In the wake of the recent Cambridge Analytica revelations, social media users are now starting to discover the extent of the data Facebook has stored about them. With that in mind, we thought we’d do a little delving into what info they might hold on you, and explore if – and how – you might give less away.

Should you be worried?

Facebook has more than 2 billion users, which means it has information on nearly a third of the world’s population, including data relating to you and your friends.

With full access to your data, it knows a lot about you and your habits. This makes it really easy to accurately predict your behaviour, including, for instance, what you’re likely to be doing this time next week.

What kind of data does Facebook store?

Basically, Facebook has kept a record of just about everything you’ve ever done on the site, down to ads you’ve clicked on, people’s phone numbers, even those you’re not in touch with any more, events you’ve attended or declined, not-so-innocent quizzes you’ve filled in, even long-deleted photos.

The amount of data revealed is staggering, but it’s not until it’s staring you in the face that you realise just how much Facebook knows about you.

Should you delete Facebook?

As a result of the revelations many people have already deleted their account on the social network. But before you rush to do the same, it’s worth checking exactly what data Facebook has collected on you since you first signed up. You can access your data archive via the settings panel in Facebook.

How to access your Facebook archive

You can download a compressed archive that contains all the data and personal information Facebook has on you. It’s quite an eye-opener.

To download your information, follow these steps:

1. Go to your Settings menu on Facebook.
2. Go to General section.
3. Click “Download a copy of your Facebook data” at the bottom.
4. Click “Start My Archive”.
5. Find a darkened room to recover from the shock!

A quick way of checking what details Facebook knows – and limiting who else can access them – is via the ad preferences page. Here you’ll see what information you’ve given them and can then decide what you’ll allow Facebook to share with advertisers.

To prevent Facebook from following you around the web, go to Ad Preferences, open Ad settings and change the top option “Ads based on your use of websites and apps” to “Off”.

What next for Facebook?

You won’t be surprised to hear that the Cambridge Analytica furore has damaged Facebook’s reputation. As a result, the company has announced an overhaul of its security and privacy settings to make it easier for people to see and control the data they’re sharing on social media.

A new privacy shortcuts menu now makes it easier to access the more important aspects of account security. Here you’ll be able to activate two-factor authentication, control your personal information, control which ads you see and manage who sees your posts and profile information.

New data management tools can be found under Access Your Information where you’ll be able to review your past interactions on the site and have the option to delete them.

It’s worth knowing, though, that you’ll never be able to reclaim all the information Facebook holds. That’s something you agreed to when you signed up.

The company has said it will be proposing changes to its terms of service and updating its data policy to make it clearer what data is taken and, more importantly, how it’s used.

Given that user trust in Facebook has taken a battering, with widespread calls for deletion and large companies pulling out, those changes can’t come soon enough.

What are your thoughts? Join the conversation here…

comments powered by Disqus
With some of the UK's biggest networks offering ginormous monthly data bundles, we thought we'd take

8 February, 2019
Selfie fan? Then you’ll want a phone with an amazing front camera, and exciting tech...
30 January, 2019
Foldable smartphones from Samsung and Huawei are coming soon, but how popular will...
23 January, 2019
Homes kitted out with smart tech are now the mainstream, but what does the future...
18 January, 2019
Is your phone slower than it used to be? Is it taking longer to get the usual things...
17 January, 2019
Feeling the post-Christmas pinch? We’ve got some handy tips to help you get on top...
16 January, 2019
Add a bit of fun to your January with a whole bunch of smartphone features – from...
11 January, 2019
Facial recognition has become the new norm in smartphone security – but how does...
8 January, 2019
Take a look at some of our favourite hidden smartwatch and fitness band features...
7 January, 2019
The notch sparked controversy when Apple added it to the iPhone X, but what is it...
4 January, 2019
If you’ve made a New year’s resolution to get fit, here are seven health & fitness...
3 January, 2019
Take a look at some of the rumours circling around one of the year’s biggest tech...
20 December, 2018
We’ve all heard our fair share of tech tales over the years – but here’s the truth...