Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY Published 9:30 a.m. ET March 30, 2018 | Updated 2:55 p.m. ET March 30, 2018
|USA TODAY's Jefferson Graham explains how you can tell Google, Facebook and Amazon to stop following you around the web. USA TODAY|
LOS ANGELES — Like many, I downloaded the data this week that Facebook compiled about me over the years, and frankly, it was spooky.
I love the social network for showing off my latest photos, staying in contact with old friends and catching up on the latest news.
But to get those features, Facebook kept:
— Location info of all my contacts. This happened when I joined and Facebook asked if I wanted to connect with other friends by importing my contacts from my computer, which happened to have their phone numbers and sometimes addresses. Facebook has lived with this info since I joined in 2007.
— Any restaurant or airport where I've "checked in."
— The IP address of everywhere I've ever logged into Facebook.
— My (estimated by Facebook) political and religious views, despite my posts that focus on three areas: photography, work (the latest articles, podcasts and videos) and, occasionally, family.
— All my searches on Facebook over the years, the names of my followers and facial recognition of me and my friends.
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which an app developer was able to sell personal data to a research firm that said it helped Donald Trump win the election, Facebook apologized. It says it has tightened its policies on what data can end up with app developers since that data leak happened. Additionally, it will be more transparent about the data it collects, the company vows.
Meanwhile, it will roll back some of the ad-targeting tools that have long been available to data brokers.