ORLANDO, Fla. (FOX 35 WOFL) - Amid controversy about privacy on social media, popular sites Facebook and Google are offering users a more detailed look at what their digital footprint looks like.
On both sites, users can now download all of the data associated with their accounts including messages, photos, search history, ads clicked, and much more. Some users are even finding detailed records of where they’ve logged into their accounts and other information.
Facebook’s taken things one step further, opening a page that gives users a detailed picture of the advertisers utilizing their data and the assumptions the social media site has made about them based on their activity; assumptions like devices they use to access the site, demographics, interests, and even political affiliation.
Stephanie Vie, a University of Central Florida professor and expert on Facebook, said the data is all stuff that the user granted permission to use or granted permission to use by default. She said it’s important to know what that information looks like so that people can adjust their settings if they don’t like what’s being gathered about them.
The pages also offer users the opportunity to change their settings to only allow the data they want to share in the future.
To access your Facebook data go to Facebook.com/settings and click “Download a copy of your Facebook Data” at the bottom of the page. The process will take different amounts of time depending on how much data a user has. Once it’s ready, it will show up in the user’s notifications with a download link.
For a look at how advertisers view you and to edit what information you’re sharing with advertisers, go to Facebook.com/ads/preferences.
Google users can download their data at https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout. This will send a link to the user’s Google email account with downloads of all data associated with that account. Note that this download will likely take significantly longer than the Facebook version as most will have much more information associated with their Google account.