Facebook Privacy Scandal: How to Check Which Advertisers Have Access to Your Data

Facebook Privacy Scandal: How to Check Which Advertisers Have Access to Your Data
  • You can download your Facebook archive
  • This allows you to check which advertisers access your Facebook data
  • You can also see what ad keywords are pitched for you

Facebook is currently embroiled in a data privacy scandal that involved UK-based Cambridge Analytica and its use of user data for targeted political advertising. While political parties around the world are showing their concerns over the scandal that involves personal data of over 50 million Facebook users, individuals are actively finding ways to protect their data going forward. Meanwhile, CEO Mark Zuckerberg in a recent apology post assured users that Facebook planned to conduct an investigation of thousands of apps that have used the social media platform to access large amounts of information. The executive also stated that the company will restrict developer access to data to some extent and give users a tool to let them disable data access right from the News Feed. However, he did mention that the issues on Facebook wouldn't be fixed in the coming future.

Facebook Data Dump Contains Your Call Logs, Which Advertisers Have Access to Your Personal Data, and More

It is quite certain that Facebook will continue to use personal data to show more appropriate content on its platform. But specifically for advertisers, the company hasn't defined what specific data of users is being shared. It is also by default unclear that which advertisers are using your data to serve you the most relevant ads on the platform. Therefore, we are here helping you out to see which advertisers have had access to your data on Facebook.

To begin with, you need to go to your Facebook profile and then click on the down arrow next to the Quick Help (?) icon. This brings a dropdown menu from where you need to click on Settings. Now, you'll see a General settings screen that has a link to Download a copy of your Facebook data.facebook general settings Facebook general settings

Click on that link, re-enter your Facebook password, and then hit the Start My Archive button. After that, Facebook will shortly send a link to your connected email that will offer you the entire data stack in a ZIP file. This importantly includes all the data that you've stored since you began using the Facebook site.facebook archive download page Facebook archive

Once you've downloaded the zip file, open the HTML folder and then open the HTML page titled "ads", as spotted by The News Minute. This file includes the names of the advertisers at the end of the file - under the header "Advertisers with your contact info".

If you'd like to see which keywords are used to serve ads to your Facebook profile, the same Ads file has a header called "Ads Topics". This includes a list of topics that are based on your "likes, interests, and other data you put in your Timeline", as described by Facebook. There is also a header, titled as "Ads History", that lists all the ads that you've ever clicked on through your Facebook account. The ads are notably listed with day, date, and time details.

The downloadable archive that Facebook provides includes lots of other information as well. You can download it from your Facebook account to see how your data being used by advertisers. It is worth pointing out here that since the Facebook archive includes sensitive information, including your private wall posts, photos, and profile information as well as contact numbers and emails of your contacts that you've used through your mobile devices via Messenger, it is recommended to download the ZIP file on your personal computer only. You should also be careful before sending your archive to any other person.



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Jagmeet Singh writes about consumer technology for Gadgets 360, out of New Delhi. Jagmeet is a senior reporter for Gadgets 360, and has frequently written about apps, computer security, Internet services, and telecom developments. Jagmeet is available on Twitter at @JagmeetS13 or Email at jagmeets@ndtv.com. Please send in your leads and tips. More
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