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Facebook has already admitted that it uses similar approaches to Google in profiling users. Most of this data is used for ad personalization. But Facebook also accepts hashed customer email addresses that stores want to use for targeted advertising.
The social media giant has explained many times that it uses non-personally identifiable data for its user targeting. But data sharing has become much more serious than users getting unwanted emails from merchants. Internet users have grown more cautious about when and where their data is shared, even if it’s just website history. The increase in instances of online scams involving social engineering attacks has a lot of people on the defensive. And Facebook’s recent data sharing agreements under the PRISM program have made matters worse.
During the process, no personal information is released. This keeps Facebook safe from privacy law and third-party sharing policy breaches. But the results are still very disturbing for some. When the profiling is complete, stores can serve such highly personalized ads that it would appear as if a customer did give them personal details. For example, the store would be the first to know if you were pregnant, or what type of hygiene concerns you have.
After many users complained about this practice over a year ago, Facebook added an option for users to be excluded from the hashed email exchange. But other methods of profiling from Facebook data like posts and searches is there to replace it. For users who want to be sure that their data is not being used this way without their permission, they need to learn how to become anonymous on Facebook.
How to Become Anonymous on Facebook
The first step to becoming anonymous on Facebook is limiting the amount of data that is shared on the platform. For users who have already given away too much, a new Facebook account may be in order. In any case, this would be the safest option. Before you set up your new account, you need to have an alternate IP address. The safest and most stable technology is a VPN. Visit this reliable provider for information if you are not familiar with VPNs. You will also need to adjust your browser privacy settings to the most secure possible. This includes disabling website history and tracking, and third-party cookies. Also be sure to delete cookies after every session. Note that you must open Facebook on a separate browser from any other that you have open.
Creating a new account from the same IP address is a dead giveaway. Your IP address connects you to your name and contact information as you have it registered with your ISP, and possibly more details from all the previous Internet activities you have engaged in. You will need to use an alternate IP every time you log on to Facebook. This is where you need a VPN service that will give you a reliable connection to an alternate IP address and also make sure this connection is secure and private.
When creating a new account, prepare a name and email address that cannot be associated with the real you in any other way. You may need to prepare a phone number as well, as Facebook sometimes flags new accounts and locks them if you cannot provide phone verification. A temporary prepaid deal is a good option. And remember to register it under your new Facebook name.
When you create your account, set it up as you normally would, with a nice profile photo and cover image. But again, make sure that you are not giving yourself away. Your digital camera can contain information about you such as your location, and if you connect it to your computer to upload, it can also store your name. Make sure that your computer and the digital devices you connect to it are not storing this information in the metadata that goes along with every type of file. You can read here about metadata scrubbers and in Windows 7
When you start thinking about rebuilding your friends list, do it slowly and throw in a few bogus friend requests to throw them off. Also seriously consider limiting this friends list. A close copy of your previous friends list will just give you away. Before you start inviting your friends and family, make sure you inform them that you want to remain private. Your contacts can easily give you away by posting real pictures of you, referring to you by your real name, et cetera. Make sure they realize that even private messages and privacy settings will not prevent Facebook from profiling you. So no personal data at all should be shared on your new account.
You can keep your old account and gradually reduce your activities there to give it the appearance of a natural death. When you use your new account don’t forget to connect to your VPN, open your dedicated Facebook browser, and check the browser privacy settings. After your session, make sure you delete cookies and browsing history.