Big Tech companies look at you and see much more than a simple person — they see a buffet of data. Every bit of your life can be collected, compiled in a digital folder and sold off to the highest bidder. If you aren’t sure which companies know the most about you, use this guide to find out who has your data.
One of the biggest ways you overshare is linking your Google account to third-party apps, like social media or music streaming services. Connecting these apps can make your digital life more fun and convenient, but it comes at a cost. Around 52% of apps share your information with third parties for targeted advertising.
Good news: If you granted permission, you can take it away. It’s not always easy to understand where to begin, though. Here’s a quick way to see which companies you gave private information to.
It takes less than a minute
Learning about the $200 billion data collection industry can make you wonder, “What companies have my data?” Luckily, there’s a quick way you can see what apps and services are connected to your accounts. We will show you how to see your connected apps on Google and Facebook because these companies are some of the biggest data collectors.
If you have a half-hour and a pair of headphones, check out this episode of the Kim Komando Explains podcast. It breaks down the way companies and government agencies buy your data. That’s right: Federal agencies can’t seize your private data, but they can buy it from data brokers.
The world of data collection is a pretty sticky web. If you don’t take the time to snip those clinging threads now and then, you could find yourself too tangled to move. Here are two ways to determine which companies know the most about you.
1. How to see the third-party apps you connected to Facebook
Facebook is pretty notorious for collecting a ton of data on its users. Luckily, its Privacy Center is transparent about it. Tap or click here to see everything it collects on you.
If you want to see all the third-party apps and services you connected to Facebook over the years, follow these steps. It shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds to find the complete list.
What to do if you’re on a computer
- Click the downward arrow on the top right corner of Facebook.
- First, tap Settings & Privacy.
- Then, select Settings.
- Lastly, hit Apps and Websites in the left side menu.
What to do if you’re on an iPhone
First, go to the bottom right corner of Facebook. Tap the three horizontal lines.
- Tap the three-line menu in the lower right corner of Facebook.
- Select Settings & Privacy.
- Then, click Settings.
- Scroll down to the Permissions section.
- Then, click Apps and Websites.
What to do if you’re on an Android
First, go to the top right corner of Facebook and tap the three horizontal lines.
- Select Settings & Privacy.
- Click Settings.
- Scroll down to Security, then click Apps and Websites.
- Lastly, select Logged in with Facebook.
Once you see all the apps and websites connected to Facebook, you can start cutting them off one by one. Remove anything you don’t want to share your data with.
That’s not all, though. To fully understand which companies know the most about you, head to Google and track down all the connected services. You may find that a site you haven’t used in years is still getting updates on you.
2. How to see the third-party apps you connected to Google
Luckily, all you have to do is head to the Linked accounts page of your Google Account. You may have to log in, but this shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds.
Once you’re there, you’ll see a few accounts you linked to Google. Just select whatever you want to get rid of and tap or click Unlink. If you decide to get rid of everything, your page will look like this:
Are some of the apps refusing to unlink? That’s not a fluke. Some third-party apps won’t let you disconnect from Google. You have to open the app itself.
In this case, head to the third-party app and look through its settings. There, you should find a section on its connected apps. Look for a section that says Linked accounts, Connected accounts or something like that.
The app you’re using should then allow you to finally disconnect. Just follow the on-screen instructions.
Take it a step further by checking your different Google apps
Not all third-party accounts pop up on the Linked accounts page. That’s why it’s good to be thorough and check out other Google apps, like Google Home or even YouTube. You may find some third-party clingers latching onto you and collecting as many data points as possible.
Head to the Google app of choice and open Settings. Head to Connected accounts or Connected apps. As an example, here’s how to find your way on YouTube:
Then, select Linked accounts. On YouTube, this takes you to a list of connected apps. On other Google apps, you may have to take it a step further and tap or click Apps.
You’ll see all the third-party accounts linked to your Google account here. Do you see any companies collecting data on you that you want nothing to do with? Select it and select Unlink or Remove.
Now you know which companies know the most about you. Here are a few more tips
After this article, you won’t need to Google, “Which companies am I sharing my information with?” Although this is helpful for anyone who wants to trim down on the companies collecting data, there’s still more you can do. Check out these handy guides for more ways to protect your private data: