How To Protect Yourself From the Next Cambridge Analytica (Maybe) Part Deux

I saw another article about locking down your privacy settings on Facebook. It was full of ads and written in the form of obnoxious slides, so I made my own version.

This is the story that won’t go away, or at least it must feel that way if your name is Zuckerberg or Sandberg. One interesting twist is the “story” that much of the Fox News/Blame Obama wing of the media have jumped on.

Tu Quoque

This one takes the form of “Well, Obama did it too!” and “The Liberal Media Thought It Was Great When Obama Did That!” This is, of course, the appeal to hypocrisy. It’s a long-revered and quite overused defense.

It’s difficult to see the point here. Who’s being hypocritical? Does the fact that other people mined Facebook mean it’s a nothing story?

The Obama campaign did use data from Facebook.

“We ingested the entire U.S. social graph,” Davidsen said in an interview. “We would ask permission to basically scrape your profile, and also scrape your friends, basically anything that was available to scrape. We scraped it all(Emphasis added)”

Carol Davidsen was the director of data integration and media analytics for Obama for America in 2011. “The entire U.S. social graph” means everything available from every Facebook user in the U.S. It sounds like hyperbole to me, but the point is that she thinks “scraping” it is both acceptable and desirable.

The difference here is “We would ask permission to basically scrape your profile…” They asked. That’s pretty much the opposite of how Cambridge Analytica did it.

But either way, there’s something worth noting: everyone does do it. They scraped it all. If you have a problem with people taking your data, you have a problem with everyone running for office.

But My Guy Didn’t Really Quoque!

Another popular refrain is “but Trump didn’t really use the data!”

Yeah, he didn’t collude with Facebook. So let’s just forget about it, right? Go back to your cat pictures.

Your Advertising Preferences

Let’s get to the important bits.

Go here. That should open in a new tab. Click on “Your Information.”

Click all those things off.

Click on “Ad Settings.”


Click on “Ads based on your use of websites and apps.” This doesn’t really seem to be related to how Facebook shares your data, but it can cut back some of the creepiness factor when on the site.


Turn this one off.

Now “Ads on apps and websites off of the Facebook Companies.”

Flip that guy to “No!”

And now for a really creepy one; “Ads with your social actions.” Read what this one controls. Ugh!

Just say “No One.”

While you’re here you can poke around the section on the top labeled “Your Interests.” You can see what Facebook thinks you like and remove some stuff you really don’t. (What is up with the icon for Movies???? Yeesh.)

So if I wanted to remove IFLS (I don’t) I would mouse over and click the X.

That should help a bit. Have a good Thursday.


6 thoughts on “How To Protect Yourself From the Next Cambridge Analytica (Maybe) Part Deux

Add yours

  1. Thank you for this. I’ve previously pored meticulously through all these settings but there are some new ones I changed thanks to this article.

    What is your objection to “Manage whether we can show you ads intended to reach people based on these profile fields” ? Like many of these settings, it attempts to show you ads that might be of interest to you, but this one seems entirely confined to FB’s data and algorithms, not sharing with third parties like all the rest. Seems reasonable to me.

    1. No specific objection. I just lock it all down.

      I run UBlock anyway, so I don’t see any of it. I am considering a blog post about that, but I need to look into any differences on Windows first.

  2. Interesting what FB thinks I like. They have to be in connection with Google. I do very little on FB, yet, I see stuff in there that directly relates to Google searches. I may need a new search engine, and starting to think Chrome isn’t a good choice.


    1. Oh, I’ve struggled with this one.

      Turning off the settings I outlined should cut back on most of the creepy correlations between inside and outside of Facebook, at least until they make more changes.

      I use DuckDuckGo for most of my web searches. It’s the default search engine in my browser(s). But there are times where their results are just not good, especially when I am looking for specific things related to programming. For them, I open a tab to Google. This at least means that what’s tracked tends to be work-related, which is fine with me.

      That said, a search engine like DDG that promises not to track is not going to do things we’re used to, like effective local searches. There’s a trade-off there.

      For browsers, I just returned to Chrome a while back after giving up on Safari. Again.

      One of the reasons, funny enough, was figuring out that the reason that the like button on WordPress wasn’t working with it. (I was still reading your blog last Fall and Winter. Honest!) It also turned out that it somehow interfered with some low-level network things that it shouldn’t even touch.

      Privacy-wise, Safari is probably the closest you’ll get to being protected and still being able to work. But it still fails.

      Opera is just sad. I’ve tried so many times. It can’t do basic things well, like read my secure email on Protonmail and run video on some sites.

      IE and Edge are maddening. It’s been a while since I ran Windows, but when I did I had such high hopes for Edge and when I went back to Mac it still wasn’t able to block ads well.

      So I use Chrome. I don’t log into it and I run UBlock Origin, which cuts back on a lot of tracking from ads.

      I may post about this,

      1. Yes! This would be an awesome post!

        I implemented what you had on both blog posts.

        I only joined FB very recently, and it’s creepy how much it has on me. I don’t EVER remember giving permission, so it must have assumed it had permission unless I removed it. Not sure.

        I got my first ever Mac, and it and I are still figuring each other out. It has pros and cons to my windows machine.

        Safari is okay, but my Mac is 95% for writing stuff, so I’ve purpose kept it slimmed down so things can’t reach me while I write!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Proudly powered by WordPress | Theme: Baskerville 2 by Anders Noren.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: