What Data Does Facebook Collect?

Chyelle Dvorak
Feb 22, 2022
Icon Time To Read3 min read

You might not be surprised to hear that Facebook keeps tabs on your birthday and favorite memories. It’s how the growing tech giant is able to connect you to people you might know and suggest who you should tag in photos. However, there’s a lot of concern over how much data Facebook collects and what kinds of data it keeps.

Every website you visit, including your Facebook page, already collects data about you. But how much of our personal information are we sharing with large companies without even knowing it? How much data can these websites collect?

If you’re someone who’s looking into this for the first time, this is a great place to start. We’ve researched this topic and want to share this information with you so you can better manage your privacy online.

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What data can Facebook collect on its website?

The answer here is pretty scary: Facebook can collect whatever information you give to it, and it can collect some information you don’t share with it. We don’t say this lightly. Facebook has a terrible track record for keeping user information safe and secure.

If you have a Facebook account, you’ve already agreed to allow Facebook to record all of your on-site activity, including who you search, what groups you’re part of, your entire social network, and everything you share in Messenger.

Facebook uses this information to its benefit—specifically, it makes money through targeted ads based on your data and things you search for on the internet. Many Facebook users don’t understand how deeply connected everything is to Facebook advertisements.

Can Facebook collect data outside its website?

Unfortunately, yes, Facebook keeps collecting data even when you’ve left its website.

Information like your IP address, what advertisements you’ve clicked on, which browser you’re using, and how often you visit the site, is already data any website you visit can record about you. It’s very disturbing when you look at how much of your information Facebook knows about you just from visiting its site.

You’d never share this information in real life, so why share it online?

Additionally, many websites use Facebook marketing tools. This makes it easier to share things you find on the internet directly to your Facebook account. (For someone who loves sharing puppy photos or sending that chocolate mousse recipe, this does have a plus side.) However, all the tabs Facebook keeps on you won’t just magically go away. Eventually, Facebook has a lot more info that you think—including data from outside the Facebook website.

Can Facebook see my browser history?

Yes, Facebook can track your browsing or search history just like it tracks when you visit a certain website. Some users already believe Facebook is listening to them through the mic on their phone using AI technology. A scary thought, right?

In reality, Facebook can’t actually listen through your phone. But this conspiracy theory shows how many people realize that Facebook collects lots of data—and it’s smarter than we know. One thing here is certain: the privacy invasion is serious.

Does a VPN protect you from Facebook data gathering?

Yes, a VPN will protect you by limiting the amount of information Facebook can collect about you (even when you’re not sharing it with the app directly). A VPN works by connecting you to another server in a different location, which will change your IP address and keep your data encoded. This means that Facebook won’t be able to track your data. They’ll still be able to see your new IP address, but all your information is encrypted, which makes you more protected.

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Does Facebook work with a VPN?

Facebook will still work perfectly fine if you’re using a VPN. All you need to do is connect to another server, then go ahead and pull up the Facebook app. There’s no rule against accessing Facebook with a VPN as long as you’re located in the United States (where VPNs are legal).

If you’re wondering which VPN will work best to keep Facebook at arm’s length, use a VPN with a strong data encryption software. The encryption is what stops third parties from accessing your information. Look for a VPN with military-grade protection.

Another thing to look for is the “no logs policy.” If your VPN has a no-logging policy, it means they won’t collect your information. This is really important since some VPNs collect user info and sell it later. Check your VPN provider to make sure they won’t store your data.

After installing your VPN, you should feel a lot better about browsing the internet and having a Facebook account. Now your data is your data, not Facebook’s.

Chyelle Dvorak
Written by
Chyelle Dvorak
Chyelle works as a freelance writer for The Daily Beast and edited articles for Forbes, Inc.com, Fox News and other review sites. Chyelle tests, writes, and researches products and services related to internet consumption. She found her passion for public speaking and writing in her childhood when she won the Voice of Democracy speech and essay competition. Chyelle has a degree in International Relations from Crown College, Minnesota. Outside of work, Chyelle loves to spend time reading, kayaking, and running.

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