Have you noticed all those ads popping up on your Facebook feed lately?
Annoying, aren’t they?
It is getting harder to change your privacy settings and easier for advertisers to make a quick buck off your online habits. But never fear, these easy steps can help you reclaim your information from the grubby grips of corporate America.
Use Google Chrome. Seriously. Do it. Although you can install extensions on other browsers, Chrome has the best options to keep you incognito.
Run PrivacyFix. The nifty little Chrome extension audits all the information you are giving to advertisers via Facebook and Google and gives you the option to cut off the freeflow. Have you noticed those little Pages You May Like boxes that say “Sally Smith liked Samsung and so should you”?
You can get rid of those by fixing a few settings. Unfortunately, we need programs like PrivacyFix to point us in the right direction and tell us how to change them. Easy peasy. Takes 10 minutes tops.
Instal the Ad Block Chrome extension. Once installed, it will show a little red octagon in the top right corner of your browser screen with a hand inside it. If the octagon is green, that means you will see adds on this page. If it is red, no ads for you no matter what website you are on be it Facebook or YouTube!
Click on “View As …” Voila! This is what Joe Schmo creeper (and/or a prospective employer) sees when randomly searching your name.
Enjoy the internet ad free!
I was surprised to learn that my own Facebook browsing was netting companies about $1.06 in revenue annually – and I thought I was pretty well locked down! Multiply that $1 (probably much more for not-so-locked-down Facebook pages) by about one-billion people and someone is making some big money! Facebook had also been tracking my movements on 83 percent of the sites I visited. Did you know those little like buttons on news stories track your browsing history? Most of my browsing is online news, hence the high percentage.
Now for the social sites outside of Facebook. For the three of you readers who actually use Google Plus, did you know that they mine your browsing for sellable demographic data too? If you went through all the steps of Privacy Fix, you should be able to easily lock down those settings now too.
Google has made $109.37 off me this year in marketable demographics data alone. I could have used that money myself for sure.
Although after going public Facebook had to figure out some way to make money, you still have the power to outwit their tricky data mining ways. Beat them at their own game.