We all understand that Big Tech not only offers services such as social media and search engines but also relentlessly harvests your data for substantial profit.
What do these tech giants know about you? Uncovering this information is straightforward. A method became popular on TikTok in a video of how Google users can discover what data the company has on them through a basic inquiry.
Users need only search for “ads settings Google” and log into their primary Google account to access the most accurate personal data profile.
Accessing Big Tech Companies’ Data on You
Big Tech firms can readily ascertain your approximate location, age, and gender. Depending on their specific business models, they may also collect various other data types.
Discover what personal information Apple holds on you.
Two years ago, Apple initiated a privacy-focused marketing campaign partially in response to Europe’s GDPR. The company has since revised its privacy policies, granting users the ability to access their collected data.
To retrieve your data from Apple, sign into your Apple ID account and navigate to Data & Privacy -> Manage Your Data and Privacy -> Get Started under the “Get a copy of your data” section. Apple will compile your data within a few days and deliver it to you through email.
Apple routinely records the following information:
User Apple ID credentials, iCloud content, including contacts, photos, and emails, Application usage data, Purchase and browsing records from the App Store, iTunes, and Apple Books, Transaction histories from Apple retail stores and support services, Marketing communication interactions, preferences, and related activities
To enhance your privacy, consider not uploading sensitive materials such as photos, contacts, and emails to iCloud, ensuring your data remains solely on your device.
Additionally, you may disable Apple’s personalized advertising by navigating to Settings -> Privacy -> Apple Advertising, where you can switch off Personalized Ads and review targeted data.
Discover what information Facebook has collected on you.
Facebook aggressively collects user data, tracking both in-app activities and actions across other websites, regardless of whether users hold an account.
To discover what Facebook has gathered about you, access Settings & Privacy -> Privacy Shortcuts on the desktop site. Although you can restrict how Facebook utilizes your data, halting its collection is challenging.
To curtail Facebook’s data acquisition, refrain from using its mobile application, which grants insight into your device type, connected Wi-Fi networks, and concurrently used apps. Despite disabling location services, Facebook can infer your approximate location via your IP address, unless you’re using a VPN.
Discover what information Google has on you.
Google accumulates extensive data about you to tailor advertisements to your likely interests. The most straightforward and effective method to prevent Google from monitoring your activities is to cease using its services, yet for many, this is nearly infeasible.
Even if you avoid Google products personally, you may still encounter them professionally. Nonetheless, you can purge much of the data Google has amassed about you. By visiting the Activity Controls section of your account, you can erase all records in the Web & App Activity, Location History, and Device Information sections.
Additionally, you have the option to disable tracking for these areas. For those unwilling to manually delete their history, Google provides a feature to automatically expunge records older than three or 18 months.
Discover what information Microsoft has on you.
You may be more intertwined with Microsoft than you realize, especially through its online offerings of Word and Excel.
\To discover what information Microsoft holds on you, visit the Microsoft Privacy Dashboard. There, you can review your activity history, retrieve your data, and erase it. Additionally, adjust your Ad Settings to block Microsoft from delivering personalized advertisements.
To completely evade Microsoft’s tracking, refrain from signing in while utilizing Word or Excel and forgo employing Cortana. Alternatively, forego establishing a Microsoft account and operating the applications directly on your Windows device.
Discover what information Yahoo has on you.
Like other search engines, Yahoo tracks user interests to deliver targeted advertising. The company faced scrutiny in 2018 when The Wall Street Journal claimed Yahoo was scanning users’ emails for information.
To manage your data, access the Privacy Dashboard while logged in. You can review and erase data and revise permissions. To prevent Yahoo from scanning your emails, visit the Ad Interest Manager, selecting ‘opt-out’ for both “Your Advertising Choices” and “Across The Web.” Ultimately, avoiding Yahoo’s data collection is simplest by not creating an account or using their services.
Can you erase all your current data?
Despite efforts to purge your data from diverse platforms, fully eradicating your digital footprint is impractical. Companies such as Google may preserve your information for up to sixty days post-deletion.
Thus, proactive measures surpass remedial ones. Restrict app permissions, remain signed out of services when feasible, and regularly clear your browser’s cookies.