Facebook knows how many times you've searched for your ex

The ways in which Facebook records your personal data has been major news this year, but now new details of just how much information it stores has been revealed.

The disclosure was made in a huge document of answers to the US Congress following Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's appearance over the Cambridge Analytica scandal back in April.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 222-page document (which you can read in full) includes new revelations about the way Facebook collects data - and some might surprise you.

While most of us realise that when we sign up to a social media site like Facebook, we're giving over access to our personal information, the sheer scale of the tech giant's monitoring operation is something to behold.

Storing your search history

California senator Kamala Harris asked Facebook whether it “collects and permanently stores” every search users make for another person on the platform.

The company answered that it did keep all such records of who you've been searching for - whether it's a friend or an ex.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

You can delete any search query you want, but it will take around six months for the log to completely disappear, Facebook said.

Here are some of the other surprising ways Facebook is recording your data:

Facebook can tell you're human is monitoring whether your browser window is "foregrounded or backgrounded."Facebook collects data about your devices, including your battery level, signal strength and available storage space.Facebook monitors your GPS location, camera information, and photos if you keep them private in your settings. Call logs and SMS log history are also recorded if users choose to sync their Android devices or upload data.Facebook records your mouse movements. This, they claim, helps them tell that you are not a robot.Facebook tracks your mobile operator, internet service provider and IP address, as well as your cookie data, time zone and internet connection speed.Your operating system, browser type, file names and plugins are also tracked.Facebook said that "in some cases" it monitors devices around its users or on the same network, so it "can do things like help users stream a video from their phone to their TV."The signals of your device are also monitored, including Bluetooth and information about nearby Wi-Fi access points.Data about your "online and offline actions" and purchases from third-party providers is collected, as well as information about the "games, apps, or accounts" you use.

How to delete your Facebook search history:

If you do want to wipe your search slate clean, you need to go to the “Activity Log” on your profile page and click on “Search History.”

Next to every query, there’s an option to delete it. Technically, no one can see this information except yourself anyway, but if it gives you peace of mind, then it's worth doing.