How Much Does Facebook Know About You? Here’s How To Find Out

Technology SecurityIf you use Facebook, you know that the site possesses a ton of your private information. But just how much does the site know about you—and how can you control the info it has?

Most of the data Facebook collects is used for one simple purpose: targeting ads at users. The site gets this information directly from you, by using cookies to track your web activity off Facebook, and by your activity on Facebook itself.

To find the full list of what Facebook knows, go to your Facebook News Feed and look for an ad to come up in the stream. Then click the arrow icon in the upper-right-hand corner of the ad and select “Why am I seeing this?” That will take you to the Ad Preferences page, where you can tell Facebook to stop showing you content from specific advertisers. You can also dive deeper by clicking “Manage Your Ad Preferences.” There you’ll find everything Facebook knows (or thinks that it knows) about you broken out into broad categories like “Lifestyle and Culture,” “Food and Drink,” and “Hobbies and Activities.”

It should be noted that you can’t completely stop Facebook from showing you ads, but you can at least manage your own information. Just finding out what the social media giant knows about you is a helpful—and eye-opening—exercise.

One of the best ways to limit what Facebook knows about you is to limit the data you give them in the first place. Also opt out of the Digital Advertising Alliance.