Completely delete your Facebook account, loose ends and all

Technology

CNET 05 May, 2021 - 09:49am 36 views

Some see Facebook as a welcome way to stay in touch with relatives and friends across the world, and interact with groups of people with similar interests. Other see a darker side filled with political fighting, privacy oversteps and rampant misinformation. Others still may just crave a break.

Whatever your reason, we'll show you how to delete every trace of your Facebook account. It's important to note that there's a difference between deleting your Facebook account and deactivating it. Deleting Facebook also severs ties to Facebook Messenger, the social platform's chat app. If you want to also delete Instagram and WhatsApp, which are Facebook properties, you'll need to do that separately.

Deactivating your Facebook account temporarily freezes it, which is useful if you want a brief hiatus. But that does nothing to stop the company from tracking your online activity. In order to fully cut ties with Facebook, deleting your account is the only answer. It's a process that takes some time and patience. Below are the steps you'll need to follow, as well as some factors you'll need to take into account prior to going through with it. This story updates periodically with new information.

It may sound obvious, but start by deleting Facebook from your phone. 

The first step is to delete the app from your smartphone or tablet. Remember that deleting the Facebook app doesn't delete your account -- you can still access it from the browser and other apps might still use Facebook as a login. 

Removing the icon from your phone gets it out of sight and mind, but it doesn't do anything to your Facebook account overall. You'll need to make sure you do all these other steps or Facebook can still track your online activity. 

There are plenty of messaging alternatives you can use to keep in touch with your Messenger friends. 

Remember, when you delete your Facebook account, your access to Messenger goes with it. Meaning, you'll need to reach out to those you frequently talk to on Messenger and figure out another app or service to stay in touch. 

Take the same approach with your Facebook friends in general. Post a status a few days before you plan on deleting your account, and ask that anyone who wants to keep in touch send a message with their contact info.

Don't lose access to apps and services you use Facebook to log into. 

Third-party developers, such as Spotify and DoorDash, have long offered to use your Facebook account as a means to sign up and log into their services. It's super convenient because it keeps you from having to remember yet another password. That is, until you don't have a Facebook account anymore.

You'll need to address those outside accounts that rely on your Facebook info by logging into each account and disconnecting it from your Facebook account. 

To find a list of apps linked to your Facebook account:

Download all of your Facebook data before doing anything else. 

Once that's done, request and download a copy of all your Facebook data by following these steps: 

Read through Facebook's final advice before deleting your account. 

The final step is to delete your account. To do so, visit this page and sign in. 

Facebook will give you a list of tasks and things to consider before deleting your account. For example, you'll be advised to download all of your information, or if you're the sole admin of a Facebook Page, you'll be asked to grant another account admin privileges, otherwise, the page will be deleted alongside your account. 

Alright, you ready? Click Delete Account, enter your password and click Continue. Finally, click Delete Account again and you're done.

Facebook will take up to 90 days to delete all of your account data from its servers. For the first 30 days of that, you can still sign in and cancel your deletion request. Your account will be restored and it'll be like you never left. For better or worse.

To cancel your deletion request, visit Facebook.com, log into your account, and click the Cancel Deletion button.

And if you need any help with the emotional side of the breakup, here are some more tips to ease the pain of Facebook separation.    

Read full article at CNET

Signal’s smartass ad exposes Facebook’s creepy data collection

The Next Web 31 December, 1969 - 06:00pm

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Facebook is notorious for generating creepily personal ads from reams of user data, but most people don’t understand how the system works.

Now, an attack ad campaign by Signal has shone some light on the opaque surveillance dragnet.

The privacy-focused messaging app tried to buy “multi-variant targeted” ads on Instagram to show what parent company Facebook knows about its users.

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The campaign aimed to expose how Facebook’s array of services harvest user information to personalize ads. Advertisers can use the enormous range of data points to target audiences based on their location, age, demographics, interests, and behavior.

The resulting adverts can be eerily intimate and potentially harmful. Just last week, researchers found that Facebook had allowed advertisers to target teenage children interested in smoking, gambling, and extreme weight loss.

Signal’s plan was to use Facebook’s own tools to highlight these practices.

According to Signal, Facebook promptly disabled the ad account. Facebook denied that the account has been shut down and dismissed the ads as a publicity stunt. But Signal has maintained the claim.

The company also shared examples of what Facebook ads would look like if they were open about the targeting.

It might be merely a publicity stunt designed to attract more WhatsApp users to Signal, but it still effectively unmasks how ad targeting works.

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Instagram seems to block ads designed to expose personal information details

Telecoms.com 05 May, 2021 - 12:01pm

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Messaging app Signal created an Instagram ad campaign that would have specified the personal information used to target it.

The details of the initiative are published in a Signal blog. It looks like the independent messaging company, which positions itself as more secure and private than Facebook-owned WhatsApp, wanted to run an ad campaign on social media site Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook. The ads themselves would have displayed the information used to target each individual recipient, as illustrated below.

“We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to,” explained blog author Jun Harada. “The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses. Facebook was not into that idea.”

The inference from the image above is that Signal’s Instagram ad account was disabled as a result of the attempted campaign. “Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience,” wrote Harada.

It should be noted that there doesn’t seem to be conclusive evidence that one thing led to the other, but it seems pretty plausible. The only public statement from Facebook so far seems to be as tweeted by a journalist, below.

Facebook’s response: pic.twitter.com/xhPTVfmLBQ

— Alex Kantrowitz (@Kantrowitz) May 5, 2021

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Signal exposes Facebook user data collection through Instagram ads

Gizchina.com 05 May, 2021 - 08:39am

Today it became known about the action launched by the team of the Signal messenger. The company launched targeted ads on Instagram with many different ads that shared personal information about users. This was done in order to show what data Facebook collects about its audience.

Ultimately, each user saw the basic information about himself that the social network collects and sells access to it. Thus, people could see data about their work, geolocation, personal interests and even relationships.

As Signal says in its press release, “Facebook’s own tools can reveal things about you that no one else can. However, in the ads that appears to users; you can already see that strangers know even more about you than you do. We wanted to use the same tools to show directly how this technology works and just bought an Instagram ad”.

For example, one of the ads looks like this: “You came across this ad because you are a chemical engineer and love K-pop. This advertisement analyzes your location and sees that you are in Berlin. Your child was recently born and you have moved. You’ve been doing a lot of exercise for pregnant women lately”.

Eventually, Facebook blocked Signal’s ad account and suspended this ad campaign. By the way, Facebook and Instagram recently announced that tracking information on iOS helps the services to remain free and sent users appropriate notifications.

Earlier, it became known that a database of more than 533 million Facebook users was published on one of the hacker forums. Inter alia, in the public domain were data of Mark Zuckerberg; which, as it turned out, enjoys protected messenger Signal, and not using the company’s WhatsApp.

As a result of the sensational leak, the phone number, address, personal identifier and some other data of Mark Zuckerberg were freely available. The data of the head of Facebook was discovered by Dave Walker, a researcher working in the field of information security. Now he has revealed that Zuckerberg’s phone number is linked to an account called Signal, an end-to-end encryption messenger that is a direct competitor to Facebook’s WhatsApp service.

Facebook declined to comment on the publicly available data of the head of the company; but a comic message appeared on the Twitter account of Signal developers; regarding the information that Mark Zuckerberg uses their messenger.

As a reminder, WhatsApp’s new privacy policy suggests that the service may share user data with other companies owned by Facebook. The changes will take effect on May 15; and before that date, all WhatsApp users must agree to the new rules; otherwise they will no longer be able to use the messenger.

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Signal exposed Facebook’s terrifying user tracking in the best possible way

BGR 05 May, 2021 - 06:31am

Signal is a chat app for iPhone and Android that we’ve been using for years. It features the same end-to-end encryption for protecting the contents of messages like iMessage and WhatsApp and has the added benefit that it hardly collects any user data. Signal rose to prominence this year when WhatsApp’s planned privacy changes came to light. Facebook reminded users that WhatsApp would share more user data with Facebook, and that’s when millions of people downloaded Signal and Telegram. WhatsApp will remain end-to-end encrypted, but Facebook’s hunger for data is an excellent reason to move to an alternative chat app.

Later, Signal blasted security firm Cellebrite’s software that law enforcement use to break into encrypted iPhones and Androids that are part of active investigations. Signal found critical security flaws in Cellebrite’s apps that had immediate consequences and potential legal ramifications.

Fast-forward to early May, and Signal exposed Facebook’s terrifying data collection practices in the best possible way. The company tried to run honest ads on Instagram that highlight Facebook’s ample user tracking practices that allow it to serve personalized ads. The ads couldn’t have arrived at a better time. Facebook is trying to convince iPhone users to let it track them online, going as far as threatening that Facebook apps might not remain free. That’s because Apple just turned on a massive privacy feature that will make it harder for Facebook to collect user data on iPhone. Unsurprisingly, Facebook’s banned Signal’s ad campaigns.

“You got this ad because you’re a Goth barista, and you’re single. This ad used your location to see you’re in Clinton Hill. And you’re either vegan or lactose intolerant, and you’re really feeling that yoga lately,” one of Signal’s ads reads. The bolded words highlighted in those ads inform users of the kind of personal data collected about them inside Facebook apps that would have brought these ads to their Instagram feeds.

This is equal parts hilarious and terrifying. Facebook might not sell your actual data to advertisers, but it collects an incredible amount of information about your activities online, which allows it to serve this type of personalized ads and turn a profit.

Signal attempted to run various ads that would have told users exactly why they’d discover Signal ads in their Instagram feeds, as seen above and below. However, Facebook wasn’t willing to let this slide and banned Signal’s ad account.

“Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used,” Signal explained in a blog post, posting the ad examples seen here. “Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience.”

“Here are some examples of the targeted ads that you’ll never see on Instagram,” Signal writes. “Yours would have been so you.”

Facebook blocking the ads from appearing on Instagram will do little to let Signals message out. Signal owned Facebook in the best possible way, as the news of its banned ad campaign and the ad examples here are going viral. They might even reach a wider audience than intended.

Apple’s privacy protections in iOS 14.5 can help users reduce the amount of personal data they feed to Facebook if users choose not to share information with Facebook. The company and its social apps will continue to track users outside iPhone and amass plenty of user data in the process.

Signal tried to use Facebook's targeted advertising data against it | Engadget

Engadget 05 May, 2021 - 05:05am

In a blog post, Signal revealed a series of deeply personal Instagram ads with blunt messages designed to expose the intimate categories Facebook uses to classify users. The company claims it created the "multi-variant" adverts using the social network's ad tools. 

One of the ads reads: "You got this ad because you're a certified public accountant in an open relationship. This ad used your location to see you're in South Atlanta. You're into natural skin care and you've supported Cardi B since day one." 

All of the ads look like placards and contain riffs on the same message, which attempts to lay bare the creepy intimacy of ad tracking tech. According to Signal, Facebook wasn't a fan of the idea and disabled its ad account. 

"Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people’s lives, unless it’s to tell people about how their data is being used," the company said in its blog post. "Being transparent about how ads use people’s data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook’s world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you’re doing from your audience."

Whereas Facebook told The Information's Alex Heath that "this is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to run these ads." It added that it temporarily shut down the company's ad account due to an unrelated payments issue. 

Regardless of the rationale behind the ads, this is far from the last word on Facebook's ad targeting practices. Currently, the company is facing the larger threat of Apple's iOS policy changes, which require iPhone app makers to explicitly ask users for permission to collect their data for adverts. Facebook has repeatedly warned that the changes will impact its advertising business and the companies that utilitize it for personalized ads.

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Here's why Facebook banned Signal's 'honest ad campaign' on Instagram

Android Central 05 May, 2021 - 04:33am

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Facebook kicked Signal off its ads platform for trying to buy ads that would show users how the tech giant collected data from them, according to privacy-first messaging app Signal.

In a blog post titled "The Instagram ads Facebook won't show you," Signal wrote:

Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people's lives, unless it's to tell people about how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people's data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook's world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you're doing from your audience.

Signal, one of the best Android messaging apps, created a multi-variant targeted ad to show Instagram users how the social networking giant collects their personal data and sells them to advertisers. As you can see in the examples below, the ads would display some personal data about the viewer used by Facebook's ad platform. Unsurprisingly, Facebook wasn't on board with the idea and disabled Signal's ad account.

One of the examples posted by Signal reads:

You got this ad because you're a Goth barista and you're single. This ad used your location to see you're in Clinton Hill. And you're either vegan or lactose intolerant and you're really feeling that yoga lately.

Facebook, however, has denied Signal's claims the company never actually tried to run the ads. In a statement sent to The Information, Facebook said:

This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads — and we didn't shut down their ad account for trying to do so. If Signal had tried to run the ads, a couple of them would have been rejected because our advertising policies prohibit ads that assert that you have a specific medical condition or sexual orientation, as Signal should know.

Facebook's Q1 revenue jumped 48% to $26.17 billion, led by a significant increase in the average price per ad and number of ad impressions.

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Signal Shares the Instagram Ads Facebook Doesn't Want You to See

MacRumors 04 May, 2021 - 11:29pm

"We created a multi-variant targeted ad designed to show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to," said Signal. "The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses. Facebook was not into that idea."

"Facebook is more than willing to sell visibility into people's lives, unless it's to tell people about how their data is being used. Being transparent about how ads use people's data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook's world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you're doing from your audience."

In recent months, Signal has enjoyed a surge in account sign-ups following a bungled privacy policy update by rival service WhatsApp, which caused a user exodus from the Facebook-owned platform.

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Facebook reportedly rejects Signal ads about its data collection

CNET 04 May, 2021 - 09:01pm

Facebook rejected ads that Signal tried to buy on Instagram, which sought to highlight the types of data it collects from its users, the encrypted messaging service said in a blog post Tuesday.

In a blog post titled The Instagram ads Facebook won't show you, Signal said it created a "multivariant targeted ad" that would "show you the personal data that Facebook collects about you and sells access to."

The proposed ads would have informed Instagram users of the kind of data Facebook collects, according to screenshots shared by Signal. For example: "You got this ad because you're a K-pop-loving chemical engineer. This ad used your location to see you're in Berlin. And you have a new baby. And you just moved. And you're really feeling those pregnancy exercises lately." 

"The ad would simply display some of the information collected about the viewer which the advertising platform uses. Facebook was not into that idea," Signal wrote, sharing another screenshot that showed its Instagram ad account had been disabled.

"Being transparent about how ads use people's data is apparently enough to get banned; in Facebook's world, the only acceptable usage is to hide what you're doing from your audience," the company wrote in its post.

Facebook taps your personal information to precisely target ads to you -- a business that provided nearly all its $85.9 billion last year. But Facebook's data collection practices have come under scrutiny following a controversy involving Cambridge Analytica, a digital consultancy with ties to the Trump presidential campaign that improperly obtained data on up to 87 million Facebook users without their permission.

Facebook didn't immediately respond to a request for comment but in a statement to The Information dismissed the episode as a "stunt" on Signal's part.

"This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads -- and we didn't shut down their ad account for trying to do so," Facebook told the news outlet.

Facebook statement: "This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads — and we didn’t shut down their ad account for trying to do so.” https://t.co/rB5ZDNOWwK

Signal, which uses end-to-end encryption, has a history of fighting any entity that asks for user data. It was one of several encrypted-messaging apps that saw a massive surge in new users in January after tech mogul Elon Musk urged his audience to drop Facebook-owned WhatsApp over privacy policy changes that gave it permission to see communications between users and businesses within the app for marketing or Facebook advertising.

Signal Tries to Run the Most Honest Facebook Ad Campaign Ever, Immediately Gets Banned

Gizmodo 04 May, 2021 - 04:46pm

The actual idea behind the ad campaign is pretty simple. Because Instagram and Facebook share the same ad platform, any data that gets hoovered up while you’re scrolling your Insta or Facebook feeds gets fed into the same cesspool of data, which can be used to target you on either platform later.

Across each of these platforms, you’re also able to target people using a nearly infinite array of data points collected by Facebook’s herd of properties. That data includes basic details, like your age or what city you might live in. It may also include more granular points: say, whether you’re looking for a new home, whether you’re single, or whether you’re really into energy drinks.

Apparently, Facebook wasn’t a fan of this sort of transparency into its system. While the company hasn’t yet responded to Gizmodo’s request for comment, Signal’s blog post says that the ad account used to run these ads was shut down before these ads could reach their target audiences. Personally, I think that’s a shame—I’d have loved to see an ad that showed what Instagram really thinks of me.

“This is a stunt by Signal, who never even tried to actually run these ads — and we didn’t shut down their ad account for trying to do so,” Facebook said. “If Signal had tried to run the ads, a couple of them would have been rejected because our advertising policies prohibit ads that assert that you have a specific medical condition or sexual orientation, as Signal should know. But of course, running the ads was never their goal — it was about getting publicity.”

Signal, in turn, refuted Facebook’s claims, saying on Twitter, “We absolutely did try to run these. The ads were rejected, and Facebook disabled our ad account. These are real screenshots, as Facebook should know.”

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