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Facebook watches you shop online and now in real stores – but you can stop it

Facebook is everywhere you look online — even if you can’t see it. Once you’re logged in, Facebook runs in the background of your web browser and monitors your online behavior. This data is then collected and sold to advertisers so they can target you more effectively. Annoying, huh?

Well, regardless of its ethical standing, Facebook’s methods are highly effective. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where advertisers are willing to pay big bucks to access your data. Tap or click to see how Facebook even helps advertisers target you based on your credit score.

And now, Facebook is taking a step in a startling new direction: the real world. Brick-and-mortar retail stores are partnering with Facebook by recording your shopping habits so they can target you with ads more effectively. But there is a way you can stop it, and we’ll show you how.

Facebook wants in on your retail therapy

A new report from Business Insider found that Facebook has been partnering with numerous brick-and-mortar retail stores to share shopping habits, demographic data and contact information to assist in the company’s targeted ad campaigns.

Information collected by the stores and Facebook includes the products you’ve bought, how much you spent, your contact info and even your name. This data is harvested when you check out at the register (usually via email receipts), and is matched against Facebook account and profile information.

That’s just for physical stores, though. Online fronts for these stores collect even more information about you and share it with Facebook, as this data is required to ship your order to your home. Tap or click here to see the most private and safe ways to pay online.

The service, referred to as “off-Facebook activity,” is already in use by some of the country’s biggest retail chains — including Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods.

So if you see advertisements on Facebook or online sites that seem a bit too close for comfort, this is why.

Thanks again for being so creepy Facebook! How can I turn this ‘service’ off?

Just like with nearly all of Facebook’s more intrusive products, there’s a way to turn retail tracking off.

First, log into your Facebook account on your desktop computer. Then click here to visit the platform’s ad settings page.

Once you’re in, locate the section labeled Ads based on data from partners. Click on the box below and select Not allowed. This will stop Facebook from communicating with third parties that harvest your data.

Don’t forget this won’t stop Facebook from tracking your online activity if you’re logged in. This is yet another reason why you may want to reconsider using the platform in the first place. Tap or click here to see why Kim thinks it’s time to break up with Facebook.

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