It's no secret that companies like Google and Facebook are tracking your every move. Earlier this month, we shared the story of Kelli Burns, a mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, who claimed that Facebook listens to everything you're saying. (Click here to read the full story.) We also told you about Facebook's "behavioral tracking and targeting," which tracks your behavior while using the service unless you turn it off.
Today, we're learning that Facebook is also using GPS paired with Wi-Fi and radio signals, beacons, cell towers and partnerships with brick-and-mortar stores to follow you when you're offline too. We wanted to let you know this as soon as we became aware of this.
The metric is called "Store Visits," and it all boils down to advertising dollars. The data collected on you is used to show marketers how online ads affect in store purchases. Is that ad you saw on the side of your screen the reason you're shopping in the particular store you're in? That's the answer these marketers are after.
So far, it looks like online ads do correlate to foot traffic in brick-and-mortar stores. According to Tech Crunch, one retailer reported that 12 percent of their online ad clicks turned into a visit to the physical store within seven days. That's substantial so you can expect this sort of tracking to explode.
This notion is also fueled by ads that can connect you to the physical store, aptly called the "Store Locator."
Fortunately, you can opt-out. You never know who else might have access to this data of where you go, when you go there and what you do when you get there.
From your Facebook profile, click on the drop-down menu in the upper right side (to the right of Find Friends).
Choose Settings >> select Ads from the left-hand side of the page >> Edit each Yes >> select either Choose Setting >> Off, or turn Yes to No.