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Sharing what, with who?! Let's talk about Off-Facebook

Updated: Jan 6, 2023

Many apps and websites today are free because they’re supported by online advertising. And to reach people who are more likely to care about what they are selling, businesses often share data about people’s interactions on their websites with ad platforms and other services. This is how much of the internet works and mobile users utilize their devices daily. How many apps do you have installed on your device right now - 50? 100? More?

From the apps you have installed, how many of those do you actually use daily? According to Statista, people are downloading apps and not using them. In fact, 25% of apps are used only once after being downloaded, and then never used again.

Some key mobile app stats for 2022

  • Mobile apps are expected to generate over $935 billion in revenue by 2023

  • Apple App Store has 1.96 million apps

  • Google Play store has 2.87 million apps

  • 21% of Millennials open an app 50+ times per day

  • 49% of people open an app 11+ times each day

  • 70% of all US digital media time comes from mobile apps

  • The average smartphone owner uses 10 apps per day / 30 apps each month

Why is this important you might ask? Motivation and sales. I go back to my previous question - how many apps do you have installed? But they are free apps, so they should be fine you say. This is probably the opposite of what is actually happening, because they are free, they need to earn money somehow. This is where data sharing comes rearing it ugly head.

And this brings me to Facebook/Meta today. We all know they collect tons of information and have seen the articles and judgements against Meta for data sharing or leaks, but somehow we don't care enough to actually do anything. We usually get on the very platform we claim to "hate", "never use again", just to share our disdain with FB. Companies like Meta, Google, Twitter, etc... don't necessarily make millions off of products or services they provide. Think about it a second, what does FB do for you besides host content but somehow they are a multi-billion dollar company. So how do they make money?

Data sharing or selling (they say they are against this) between vendors. If you don't know already, I would like to show you in FB just where you can see how this data is shared between vendors and outside FB. Even if you have your profile to private! You don't even need to use the app for those creators/vendors to receive information.

Let's talk about Off-Facebook Activity. According to FB, "Off-Facebook activity is a summary of activity that businesses and organizations share with us about your interactions, such as visiting their apps or websites. They use our Business Tools, like Facebook Login or Facebook Pixel, to share this information with us."

This blog post focuses mainly on mobile device and app use on a phone or tablet, but that isn't where the data collection stops. This includes your desktop or laptop apps and usage as well, though not as much. You can see from my FB activity snippet below it shows 2 desktop apps not on my phone.

What does mine show? (Here is a snippet of mine - I don't have Rockstar games or Blizzard installed on my phone. Those are installed on my desktop so this isn't just for mobile devices!!)

So now you are googling Off-Facebook and how do I find it, let me help you real quick.

To review your off-Facebook activity:

  1. Click your profile picture in the top right of Facebook.

  2. Select Settings & privacy, then click Settings.

  3. Click Privacy in the left menu.

  4. Click Your Facebook information in the left.

  5. Click Off-Facebook activity to review. From here, you can also click Recent activity for more information. You'll be asked to re-enter your password.

So from here you can clear your activity history and select future activity to disconnect. If you select the latter, each active app will display giving you the opportunity to turn it off and the apps/websites will no longer be saved with your account.

Yay Big Data!! Not trying to just pick on Meta, this is just one company among other big players that control the Internet data. Am I tracking you right now as you are reading this page? :)

Good luck, stay vigilant and remember, Bigger is Better

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