Step-by-step guide to locking down your Facebook account

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This will work until Facebook changes the settings again, and uses the Vogon Constructor Fleet method of letting you know.

Close your account, or better yet use a time machine to go back a few years and prevent your past self from creating one.


For example, I can’t find any “nobody” option that does this:

This section has other important privacy tools you can fiddle with, including who can look you up with your email address or phone number. We’d recommend … no one.


Lastly, for some fun insight into how advertisers think of you, click on Your Interests. There you’ll find all the categories Facebook uses to tailor ads for you.

More accurately, it says “Your information” (on the Ads page). (EDIT again: Nope, it has both.) They already know this stuff (well, the stuff they got right, anyway), and they’re going to hoover up even more; all this does is not show me ads based upon it.

I’m just that much closer to closing my account. It’s the only means of contact I have for old friends/acquaintances, but in all honesty, it’s not like I was staying in touch before FB, and I’ve (deliberately) been on less and less over the past month.


I deleted my account something like 10 years ago (on the day that they made deleting your account possible). It can be a serious pain in the ass to live without Facebook these days though. My local newspaper switched to Facebook logins only for commenting. I have seen plenty of other sites doing the same thing. My friends treat my wife and I like we are handicapped because of no FB. Inviting us to anything is always a pain for them because we have to be invited separately from the rest of the group.

I have been playing around with the idea of starting a new account, completely locked down and on a “clean” machine that is not used for anything else but it seems like a lot of paranoid CIA BS just to get invited to dinner.


On the topic of marveling at the weird ad categories, when I was in my mid twenties, me and my friends from high school (mostly white guys) all started seeing ads on MySpace for a dating site catering to large women. No one who was non-white or female was getting them. Super weird.

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I visited a website about baby names ONCE. I was simply trying to find out how popular a name that my friends gave to their kid was. Holy shit. Six months of diaper and breast pump ads everywhere.

It also drove me crazy that if I actually purchased something, I would see ads for that thing I just bought for months. Nobody is less “in the market” for a dishwasher than somebody that bought a bought a dishwasher 2 weeks ago.

I actually don’t mind targeted ads so much. I just wish they worked better. I would be prefectly happy to share a little of my personal info if it meant seeing ads for cameras and computer hardware everywhere instead of energy drinks and dating aps or whatever.


Step-by-step guide to locking down your Facebook account

That you’d even need this is all you need to know about Fbook.



It’s difficult to go anywhere on the web without being tracked by Facebook, Google, Twitter and a host of others that you may not have heard of. For instance, the page about locking down your Facebook account has about 52 trackers on it, including two from Facebook, but that’s true of about any place you go on the web.


Even if you’ve never created a Facebook account, you might have a Facebook account. That happened to me, and I didn’t realize it until I noticed that the Facebook emails in my Gmail trash folder were actually from Facebook and not forged phishing spam.

It turns out that Gmail has an interesting feature: If you get email in a language that Gmail thinks you don’t know, it sends it straight to the trash folder. They were in Arabic.

Someone had signed up to Facebook in Arabic, giving my email address. Somehow they’d been able to bypass the step where Facebook sent a confirmation email with a link & tag to my email.

Getting rid of it was easy: Go to Facebook and do the “I forgot my password” step, wait for the confirmation email to land in my trash, then change the password and start the self-destruct countdown. (After changing the picture and personal information to “I am an idiot”.) The hardest part was changing the language setting from Arabic (right to left menu ordering) to English.


I find it easy to forget about ads on Facebook with the availability of plugins like FB Purity. (I used to use Social Fixer, but it stopped updating for a long time. I think it might be working again these days.)

And I reckon getting comments from strangers will quickly clue one in to the necessity of restricting the privacy of one’s posts. Facebook actually seems to be surprisingly pro-active with reminders about checking post-privacy these days. I also really like the “View As…” feature readily available from one’s profile page.


Step one: Delete your account. There. All done (hopefully).

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I am so jealous that you have friends who actually use FBevents, or even take time to plan out stuff.


You mean to show me ads? And way to be self righteous about not using a free service everyone else uses.

I don’t. And if you think that Cory and I are the only ones on bb who don’t, can we work out a way to make a little wager??

Use the parental-blocking in your router to block

Then, for extra safety, add these to your hosts file:



That’s the part of the whole scheme that I think is amusing. I bought a few electronics kits from Amazon and suddenly on sites that I had adblock off on had the same items showing up as ads. Like do these folks not realize that such items don’t often need to be bought again? Like if I bought it already why show it to me? A smarter choice of ads would be show soldering station ads or show electronics how-to ads. But the same exact item I bought? This is why I think online advertising is going to implode and probably why Facebook is trying to find new revenue streams. It’s an echo chamber that doesn’t lead to objectively higher sales, especially for getting returning customers.


I’m going to assume you’re just pretending not to understand what people mean when they say “everyone [does X]”.

When a sufficiently large number of people are not doing X, then “everyone does X” doesn’t work, even as a colloquialism.

80% of internet-using Americans use Facebook. I’d say that qualifies as “everyone”. You might think differently. I don’t care.

My actual points were: not using a popular service is nothing to brag about, and that Facebook uses it’s “evil” information gathering and processing skills to show you little ads on their site. They don’t sneak into your grandmother’s house and replace their medication with amphetamines.