It’s no longer surprising that social media companies like Meta muster a batch of information about you. Tap or click here to see 10 Facebook security and privacy settings you should change right now.
When you create an account with Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you’re asked if you want to sync your contacts. It seems harmless, but it is not. This is why you should stop doing this.
Data collection goes far beyond social media. All the big tech companies have at least some information about you. Apple, Google, Twitter and Meta have profiles of you. But what exactly do they know? Well, there’s a way for you to find out.
Find out what Apple knows
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Some big tech companies have taken steps to minimize the exposure of their data to third-party advertisers, but they don’t completely eradicate it. A few months ago, Apple introduced its Application Tracking Transparency (ATT)which allows iOS users to decide which apps can access their data.
Even with those settings on, Apple still collects a lot of data, including your Apple ID details, data stored in your photos and emails, and purchases from the Apple Store, App Store, and iTunes.
You can download a copy of your personal data to see what Apple has stored about you. That is how:
Sign in to your Apple account at privacy.apple.com and select Request a copy of your data.
Select the data you want or check the box to Select all.
Click Continue and then complete the application.
You will access a confirmation screen indicating that you will be notified by email when your data is ready. It can take up to seven days.
You may need to sign in multiple times and get a two-factor authentication code if it’s enabled. Tap or click here for details on 2FA and why you should use this security tool whenever possible.
Google crawls more than search
If you have a Google account, the company may know more about you than your closest friends. The only way for Google to stop tracking and storing your data is not to use its services. Easier said than done.
Here’s how to manage what Google knows about you:
Sign in to your Google account at myactivity.google.com/activitycontrols.
You can see what Google has saved to your profile and remove all your search history, location tracking, YouTube history, and personalized advertising.
Select Manage all web and app activity. You can view your activity, delete it manually, or delete it automatically using the controls on this page. Select the Erase dropdown menu to get started.
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Select manage history for you youtube data and location history, and repeat the steps above.
NOTE: If location tracking is enabled, Google also keeps track of where the photos were taken.
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tweeting is forever
Twitter keeps track of your login history, the devices used, the places you visited while using Twitter, and your likes. Don’t forget that all tweets can be captured or tracked and used against you at any time.
Here’s how to download an archive of your Twitter data:
Log in to your Twitter account from a computer and click on the plus icon in the navigation bar.
To go Settings and support > Settings and privacy.
Select Your account > Download a file of your data.
You will be prompted to enter your password. Or you can verify your identity by sending a code to your registered email address and/or phone number.
After verifying your identity, click on the request data button.
When your download is ready, Twitter will send an email to your connected email account or push notification. From your settings, you can click on the download data button under the download data section.
Once you receive the email, click on the Discharge while logged in to your Twitter account and download a ZIP file of your Twitter archive.
Do not delete your account if you decide to cut ties with Twitter. Someone can steal your old username and impersonate you. Tap or click here for the safe way to blow up coop.
Facebook is a treasure trove of data
Social media accounts collect tons of your personal information. This is also why hackers consider Facebook or Twitter accounts more valuable than credit card data. And the best part? You provided the information on your own.
By setting up a Facebook account, the company knows your name, age, where you live, your friends, your interests, and even your political affiliation.
Here’s how to get a copy of your Facebook data:
Open Facebook on your computer and click on your profile.
Select Settings and privacy > Settings.
Select Privacy > Your Facebook information from the left pane.
Select Download profile information.
Check or uncheck the boxes for various categories. Other options include date range, download format, and media quality.
When you’re ready, click request a download to start the download.
Your request will appear as Pending in the Available Files section of the Download Your Information tool.
You’ll receive a notification when it’s ready, which could take several days. Once this happens, go to the available files section of the Download your information tool.
Click Discharge and enter your password.
Ready to take a break from Facebook or go away for good? Here are six simple steps to do it.
Keep your tech savvy up and running
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