Magpie Tech Tips

January 15, 2020

How to Stop Facebook from Following You Around

By now you know that Facebook tracks your activity, both on its apps and on other websites. Now they're using data to track your shopping habits in brick-and-mortar stores. A clear risk to privacy, especially if you use Facebook for business purposes. Here's how to stop it.

Facebook is no longer satisfied with tracking your online activity. Now they track your real-world activity too.

An article on BusinessInsider documented the practice:

Short version: You go to a retail store & buy something. That retailer shares its data about you – email, name, what you bought, when you bought it — with Facebook. Facebook matches it with their own data, and creates a "custom audience"...a group of people like you. The same retailer can then target that "custom audience" with ads online.

Ever shopped at a certain store, only to see ads from the same store online a few days later? This is why.

Facebook gets huge amounts of data on you from this practice. Is it legal? Yes. Is it a risk to your business' privacy, if you use Facebook for business? Undoubtedly.

How do we stop it? Here's what you can do.

  1. Don't use email receipts for business-related purchases. Take a paper receipt.

  2. Change your Ad Settings on Facebook: Go to this page: and you'll see the Ad Settings section. Click the "Ads based on data from partners" row. Change the dropdown there to "Not Allowed."

  3. Don't use the same email address for your Facebook account and your banking. This is how Facebook does most of its data matching—by email address.

  4. If at all possible, shut down your Facebook account. has instructions on how to do it.

 

Do you have a cybersecurity question you want answered? Send it in to and it may show up in our next "Cyber Fu Tip."