Can Your Facebook Activity Be Tracked?

By Naomi Bolton

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According to findings of a research team from the University of Vienna, one of the main reasons why people quit Facebook is privacy concerns. These fears are not ungrounded, as it is very easy for strangers to find you on Facebook and for friends to keep track of your Facebook activity -- depending on your privacy settings. Facebook also records all of your searches on the site and uses your browsing data for targeted advertising purposes.

Recent Activity

Friends can see your latest activity under "Recent Activity" when they click on your profile. This information usually includes likes as well as new friendships. Some of your other activity, such as comments, will randomly appear on your friends' news feeds. If your friends have a ticker enabled, they will be able to track all of your activity that is shared with friends in real time. Friends of friends will also be able to see if you like or comment on the friend's photos or posts.

Activity Log

Your activity log is meant for your eyes only, but someone who hacks into your account will be able to track all of your Facebook activity using this tool, including which people you have been searching on Facebook. Clear your search history to protect it from unauthorized viewing. With your activity log you can control who sees certain posts, likes and comments by clicking the audience selector icon. If the audience is set to public, anyone who views your profile can track your activity.

Monitoring Software

Your Facebook activity can be tracked if there is monitoring software installed on your PC. Many security software packages such as Bitdefender, Minor Monitor and Norton Online Family have a parental control feature to enable parents to see what their children are up to on Facebook. However, according to Bitdefender’s chief security researcher, Catalin Consoi, many women use this feature to view their husbands’ Facebook activity. Someone with access to your home computer and your account settings could set up Facebook activity tracking using monitoring programs like these.

Targeted Advertising

Facebook tracks your activity to provide targeted advertising options to advertisers. When you change certain information such as your relationship status, location, workplace and education, this information is used to classify you under a target audience for specific advertisers and their advertisements may show up on your Facebook page to try to entice you to buy their products. Every time you add a movie you have watched or music interest, or like a business page, this activity is recorded and used by Facebook for targeted advertising. According to the Business Insider, Facebook also tracks your browsing activity on pages with a Facebook icon.