If you use Facebook you are probably familiar with how it uses your data to show you carefully targeted advertising.
You search for something online and suddenly ads for whatever you searched for start appearing in your News Feed.
But it’s not only people who use the social network that Facebook tracks in order to help boost its advertising revenue.
The firm also tracks people without Facebook profiles, helping to keep tabs on billions of internet users around the world.
Facebook does this through its Audience Network, which it launched in 2016.
The Audience Network enables brands to extend their Facebook advertising campaigns to people all across the internet, specifically people who are not signed up to the social network.
“Our buttons and plugins send over basic information about users’ browsing sessions,” Facebook ad exec Brian Bosworth told The Wall Street Journal.
“For non-Facebook members, previously we didn’t use it. Now we’ll use it to better understand how to target those people.”
If you have an account with Facebook, it is fairly easy to see opt from seeing and ads and also check what information the company stores about you.
But if you don’t have an account, there is no way of checking what Facebook knows about you.
“We also offer everyone controls over the ads they see, including tools to opt out of online interest-based advertising,” Bosworth said previously.
“If you have an account, you can do this directly from your Facebook settings, and we honor your choice wherever you use Facebook.”
In February, a Belgian court ordered Facebook to stop tracking internet users in the country who do not have a Facebook account.
Johannes Kleis, a spokesman for the European Consumer Organisation (BEUC), said: “This is a big win for internet users who don’t want tech companies to monitor every step they make online.
“What Facebook is doing is against Europe’s data protection laws and should be stopped throughout the EU.”
“We are disappointed with today’s verdict and intend to appeal,” Facebook said in a statement.
How you can see all the data Facebook stores on you
If you use Facebook you can download a file containing all the data the social network stores on you.
Go to you Facebook profile > Settings > General
Select ‘Download a copy of your Facebook data’
The file will then be sent to the email address used to login to your Facebook account.
How to opt out of Facebook’s interest-based advertising
If you have a Facebook account you can opt from Facebook using your personal data to show you ads.
Go to you Facebook profile > Settings > Ads
Or click on this link