facebook logo with silhouette of person holding phone
Julie Hambleton
Julie Hambleton
December 31, 2023 ·  5 min read

Facebook Can Now Track What You Do Off of Facebook. Here’s How To Turn It Off.

If you’re concerned about how much social media giant Facebook knows about you, then you’ll be horrified at this: Facebook can now track everything you do, even when you’re not on the site. This is how you can manage it. (1)

Facebook Can Now Track Everything

In case you still don’t believe me, I’ll say it again: Facebook can now track everything you do, even things you do off the site. In addition to apps such as Instagram and Whatsapp, which the company now owns, there are plenty of other websites and services that Facebook has a hand in. (1, 2)

This includes other websites you visit and other apps on your phone. They can even track where in the world you are and where you often visit, particularly if you open up Facebook (or another Facebook-owned app) while you are there. (2)

Even if you don’t have Facebook, the company can collect data on you. Most of this is through partnerships with other companies and websites that allow both sites to benefit from your data. Facebook specifically uses this information to create targeted advertising. If you are looking at flights to, say, Miami, Facebook will send you ads for hotels in the city. (2)

Thankfully, there are ways you can limit how much Facebook can track you. The company has come under fire in the past for not being careful enough to share user data with third-party companies. Depending on how much you trust them will dictate how many measures you take to limit their access to your information. (2)

Facebook Can Now Track Everything, But Here’s How To Stop Them From Mining All Of Your Data

The only real way to limit the amount of information Facebook can collect on you is to stop using all three apps – Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp – altogether. Naturally, many of us enjoy social media and don’t want to completely disconnect that way. (2)

To start, go here to see more detailed information on how the company uses your data. You can also read through Facebook’s data usage policy here.

Limiting Targeted Ads

If you choose to use Facebook, you choose to store information about what you do on the site itself. You also can’t stop them from advertising to you. However, you can stop targeted ads from appearing. (2)

1. Your Interests

On your web account (on your computer, not through the app on your phone), go to your ad preferences page. Select “Your Interests.” Here, you can see what assumptions Facebook has made about what types of things and activities you are into. (2)

2. Your Information

You can also decide what information Facebook has about you under the “Your Information” tab. These will be things like relationship status, where you went to school, your job, etc. You can select which information you want to share here. (2)

3. Your Ads

In “Ad Settings,” you can select whether or not Facebook can use information from its marketing partners. If you turn this off, you will still see the same amount of ads; they will no longer be tailored to you. (2)

Off-Facebook Activity

Facebook received a lot of negative attention when its data-sharing partnerships with third-party services came to light. In response, they built a tool called “Off-Facebook Activity.” This allows users to break the association between what you do on Facebook and off of it. The company can still collect data; it just isn’t used in the same way. (3)

How To Turn On “Off-Facebook Activity

This is another action item that you will have to do on your laptop, not your phone.

Go to Facebook on your computer. Under your profile image in the top right corner, select “Settings and Privacy”. Choose settings

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb
Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

On the left-hand side, select “Your Facebook Information”.

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

Click view next to “Off-Facebook activity”. You will see this page:

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

First, select “clear history” to erase data they already have.

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

Click out of that screen and select “Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity”.

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

Select “Manage Future Activity”, in blue.

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

Click the blue button to toggle it off, next to “Future Off-Facebook Activity”.

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

A message will come up saying that some apps might not work properly or that you will have to re-sign into other apps if you turn this feature off. Don’t worry – you can re-sign into those apps after without Facebook tracking your activity any longer.

Refresh your page and your screen should look like this:

Image Credit: Totally The Bomb

How to Prevent Third-Party Sites From Tracking Your Information

As already mentioned, other sites are also tracking your information. Now you’ve stopped them from sharing that with Facebook; however, you may wish to take it a step further.

Go to YourAd Choices to disable a variety of sites from targeting you with advertising, including Facebook. Note that you will have to do this separately on every browser you use if you use more than one. (2)

You may also want to look for the option to block third-party cookies from your browser settings or install a tracker-blocking browser extension such as Privacy Badger or Ghostery.

On Your Phone

Most of what was already mentioned does apply to apps. However, you may want to adjust Facebook permissions on your phone as well. This will prevent access to your location, your microphone, camera, and contact list. (2)

Look under Apps and Notifications in your phone’s settings for Facebook and deactivate permissions there. (2)

The reality is if you choose to have a phone or computer, use the internet and other apps, your information is being tracked and stored to some capacity. Following the steps outlined above, you can increase your privacy and limit access to your information, but you can’t stop it completely. (2) The only way to do that would be to avoid the internet entirely – email, websites, Netflix – everything. Is that a practical way to stop Facebook from tracking everything? Probably not, but I’m sure we can find a middle ground.

Keep Reading: How to Hear and Delete Everything Google Has Recorded You Saying


  1. Facebook knows what you’re doing on other sites and in real life. This tool lets you see what it knows about you.Business Insider. Aaron Holmes. March 17, 2020.
  2. All the Ways Facebook Tracks You—and How to Limit It.” Wired. David Nield. January 12, 2020.
  3. Facebook can track you across the web. Here’s how to stop it.” CNet. Katie Teague. July 27, 2020.