Your data on Facebook, Part 2

What else does Facebook know about me?

Picking up where we left off…

Messages

This section is a little strange. For example, I found messages from one ex-boyfriend but not another. Both have been “blocked” from my profile for years. Also, not all messages in every thread (in all messages from anybody) appear.

According to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony, I believe his response was that messages aren’t scanned for data to use in advertising. So hopefully, this section is just a record of conversations, which I can see being helpful in many situations.

I plan on keeping this data for myself but not looking at it until I have something to look for. Although, I did just do a trial run of that and didn’t find any of the messages I was looking for. Let me know if you think of a use for this information!

Pokes

Probably the most annoying thing ever invented in social media: the “poke.” I did come up with a word, way back when. Monopokemus. The meaning? I only engaged in poking with one person! And really, that was just for an ongoing joke.

Why this data is included is beyond me. Also, it only shows the pokes from 2016 on. Facebook, if you’d like to tell me why this information is of value to me, I’d love to hear it.

Events

Are Facebook events part of the data used for advertising?This section isn’t laid out well, but it does give information on every event you’ve created. It also includes all of your attending (will include your created events again), maybe, declined, and no response RSVPs with the event’s details: event name, beginning and ending time.

This information can be used by advertisers. I don’t think you need to go overboard in considering whether or not to answer event invites, but it’s good knowledge to have when trying to understand the ads you are seeing. By the way, I apparently ignore a lot of event invitations.

Action Plan:

Use this list to study your own reactions to invites. Look at the invite names you said yes to. Study the ones you didn’t bother to answer. Are there things in common for all the yeses? Maybes? No response?

The wording is important and you can get a general idea of what people are responding to and having success with by taking time to go over some of these responses. If you always say no to something with a certain word in it, take note of that and never use that word in your event titles, for example.

Realtors, pay extra special attention to anyone advertising an open house. Look at them with “customer” eyes and see why you responded the way you did. This will help with your titles of events.

Security

While this information is very boring to look at, it gives Facebook a ton of valuable data for advertising. It starts off with information on all of the times you deactivated and reactivated your account.

The huge list that follows that gives them statistical data, how many times you log in, take action, update, etc. As a social media expert, I appreciate the collection of this data as it helps in my presentations. This information can be used to find the best time of day to post when looking at my data along with all other users.

An example of how this data is used for advertisers is looking at the locations users were in while using Facebook. As you can see below, advertisers can target not just a location but can narrow it down further to people who live there, recently there, and traveling through.

Why is my security data important to Facebook?

Ads

Why are these topics used to target me in Facebook ads?This is a list of all of the categories an advertiser might use to target you. I’m a little concerned that someone would use the name, “Dimebag Darrell,” to target me. What the… who the…?

But many of the others I can see being things I’ve posted about or looked up landing me on another website. For example, Carbohydrate. The man and I recently tried Atkins. Meowingtons I’ve shopped with and most likely “like” their page. The app, Angry Birds, is connected to my account so that I can play against friends.

You see where I’m going with this right? And the photo you are looking at isn’t even all of the first page. This list is another that scrolls for quite a while.

There is not really any action you can take here. This list forms from years of activity and it would be futile to try to change any of it. If you enjoy having ads that are at least somewhat relatable to you, it doesn’t really matter anyway. And, if you want to help the algorithm, you can always report that the ad is offensive or irrelevant to you and that will improve your overall experience. See how to below:

How do I hide or report ads on Facebook?

I couldn’t find anything unrelatable to me so Facebook is doing pretty darn get at targeting their ads to me. Above, the first photo is found in my timeline and the third photo was a sidebar ad. The ad for Promo has an easy to find drop down (circled) but the sidebar was a little tricky. While you can see the area where the drop down can be found, you have to hover over the picture to get it to appear.

As you can see with both there is an option to hide the ad. When you click on that, the middle photo shows your pop up options:

  • It’s not relevant to me
  • I keep seeing this (I use this option a lot)
  • It’s misleading, offensive or inappropriate

Make your selection and they will hide similar ads/subjects from your feed. A little more information on how they have chosen your ad topics appears when you click, “Why am I seeing this?” I’ve taken a screenshot of the answer so you don’t need to leave to find their response.

Why am I seeing this ad on Facebook?

We’re nearing the end, I swear!

Places Created

Admittedly, I don’t have a lot on my list; only two. One is for an open house I was promoting for a client and the other a garage sale. I don’t even remember doing that one. This section will not only tell you the place, but also the latitude and longitude.

Quick Tip:

Every page has the date you downloaded your data at the bottom. This is important if you want to make sure you are looking at your latest.

Applications

Which applications are tied to my Facebook account?This is probably the place you should start this whole process. The applications list you are looking at (left) is naming every app you’ve connected to your Facebook account. I think now more than ever after the Cambridge Analytica fiasco, you need to pay attention to which apps you’ve given permissions to.

I’m guilty of it. I enjoy the ease of just signing in with Facebook. At the very least, consider the permissions you are granting the developer. And as I’ve said before, if you are willing to give permission without reading terms & conditions, you are handing over your information.

And just like all of the other pages, this is a minuscule portion of my entire list. I’m a little surprised at how careless I’ve been. It’s like I’ve been saying since this started. We all need to take responsibility for our own actions because Facebook isn’t the sole blame in any of this.

Take Action

First, print out the list that comes up in your “Applications” section. I say to do this because when we go in to disconnect apps, there is a search bar and that can save a lot of time. Or, saving time, you can take back your access to all apps and decide as you use them which to add back in.

Here are the steps on Facebook:
  1. From any page on Facebook, open settings:
    Where do I find the settings in Facebook?
  2. Go to the “Apps and Websites” section:
    Where do I find apps and websites in Facebook settings?
  3. Finally, check the boxes next to any app you want to cancel access to then click on “remove.”
    How to I remove an app's connection to Facebook?

In my active tab, I show 44 apps with access to my Facebook information. That is all permission I granted.

You may not see all of the applications from your list here as they will also appear in the expired tab. My expired tab holds 256 apps I gave permission to at some point.

When you see the apps in this section, you don’t necessarily need to take action. In fact, I would leave them where they are because they aren’t being allowed to access your data, but if something like Cambridge Analytica comes up again, you can quickly scan the list and see if you are at risk. You will know much sooner than Facebook can bring it to your attention.

Whew! That was a journey through data!

While our focus the past few days has been our data on Facebook, I want to leave you thinking about Terms and Conditions. We are responsible for everything we agree to. Whether we read them or not. Here is a link to an interview I did with filmmaker Cullen Hoback about his film, Terms & Conditions May Apply.

It is available to watch in many places and I suggest you see the film. Here is the trailer and if you watch it, let me know in the comments below!

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