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Control Your Profile, Part I

Control Your Profile, Part I

If you use Facebook, you’re not alone. There are over two billion active users on the platform. Whether you are willing to accept it or not, Facebook is a huge part of a good chunk of the world’s lives. If being a well-connected, with the times, user has always described who you are, then we could have some helpful information oriented towards you in our blog today. We will be discussing your online identity, and who you have told Facebook you are. 

Collect Everything Facebook Knows About You

The world’s largest social network has collected a large amount of information about who you are. Scandals are no stranger to the platform, so exposed sensitive data better be a concern for you. Facebook has recognized their scandalous flaws, and vowed to become a more transparent network. 

Facebook allows users to view the information they have collected about you. They’ve even made it quite simple to do so. Here’s how to view this information on a computer, and a mobile app respectively. 

On a desktop or laptop:

  1. Log in to your Facebook account.
  2. If you are on a desktop or laptop, click the down arrow on the top right and go to Settings.
  3. On the left, click Your Facebook Information.
  4. Facebook will present you with five options. Look for Download Your Information.
  5. Click View, Facebook will give you a screen where you can choose the date range and format of the data. Since in this case, we want to download everything, we’re going to set the Date Range to All of my data and set Media Quality to High. This means we’ll get a higher quality version of all of our photos and videos in the download.
  6. Click Create File and Facebook will start building the download. This can take a while, but Facebook will give you a notification when your data is ready for download.
  7. Once Facebook gives you the notification, click it and Download your data.

From the Facebook mobile app:

  1. Tap the 3-bar hamburger icon in the top right of the app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Settings & Privacy, and then tap Settings.
  3. Tap Download Your Information.
  4. Leave all of the options checked, and scroll down. Ensure the Date Range is set to All of my data and that Media Quality is set to High.
  5. Tap Create File and Facebook will give you a notification when the data is ready for download.

This information takes roughly an hour before a notification is given. Are you a Facebook veteran? Being an active user since the platform’s beginning means there is an incredibly large amount of information to be shared with you. This means these files can get quite large, so several GB of storage space should be available before completing these steps. 

There are many more things to do on the Your Facebook Information page on your desktop: 

Access Your Information - Facebook breaks down all of your data in several categories here. Posts, Photos, and Location all are able to be viewed. This is great and all, however users should be particularly interested in what Facebook knows about you outside of Facebook. Seeing old posts and photos shouldn’t be news to a user.  

Activity Log - This page again shares the things you should already have seen before. It essentially is a timeline recap, which is great to relive these old moments. However, this yet again does not reveal groundbreaking information about what Facebook knows about you. 

Deactivation and Deletion - Facebook hasn’t always had the option for users to delete their account. This feature is nice if you are fed up with Facebook, and some readers might even navigate to this page by the end of this series.  

What Does Facebook Know About You?

Once this file is viewable, you are able to understand just how much this social network giant knows about you. There are some obvious things, like posts and photos, but things get much, much more interesting beyond that. 

For example, Facebook not only is able to see your location, but it also logs it. I was able to pull up a day two weeks ago, and see exactly when I left my house and came to the office. Furthermore, I could see where I went on my lunch break, and any other pitstops I made. In some cases, it even allowed me to view the store’s name that I was at. 

Under the Ads section of this file, you will be able to see a list of advertisers who uploaded a contact list with your information. The important part of this statement that was just made is uploaded. This means that these listed advertisers ALREADY had information about you, and then possibly ran ads that targeted you.

What To Make of This Information

It might seem a bit nerve wracking knowing just how accessible the online profile you have made of yourself is. However, Facebook is used by a quarter of the world's population, so despite Mark Zuckerberg knowing the exact location of your house and habitual errand route, we aren’t saying leave the platform forever. We are just wanting to share how private your privacy really is, and we go over so much more in the other parts of this series. 

This is only the tip of the iceberg of the information we will share about this social giant. Visit our blog page at 415 IT to learn more! 

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