Facebook’s deal to track your offline activity and how to stop it

dislikeNow that Facebook is a publicly traded company, it was inevitable that they would soon be partnering with entities that would provide more profit and value to the stock of the organization.

The latest news from Financial Times states that Facebook is working with Datalogix, a data company known for their detailed collection of household data, to connect what is known about an individual in the real world with that of the online world.

This means that Facebook and Datalogix will be able to cross reference your online presence with what you purchase with your frequent shopper card at the local pharmacy or grocery store. For example: they would be able to know that I purchased some forearm pads at Dicks Sporting Goods yesterday and would be able to cross reference that information with the football team comments from my child’s last game. This would cross reference with any individuals tagged in photos or comments and show to both Datalogix and Facebook a clear picture of the fact that I have a child that plays football with a group of other kids in which I’m connected to their parents.

Datalogix site opt-out

Opting out of Datalogix cookies

Now you may not think of this as a big deal, but consider some of the things you might not want Facebook and their advertisers to know about you; like your purchase history of that itch you just cannot get rid of. You more than likely would not post details about it on your timeline, but someone is finding out more about you than even your best friend would want to know.

An excerpt from the Financial Times article says it the best:

”You are talking about the creation of massive, real-time data mining warehouses that 24/7 compile granular bits of information about all of us and sell that to the highest bidder,” says Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “They know everything about us, but we know nothing about them.”

The root of what they are doing here is matching the email addresses used for Facebook with the email addresses of the value plans at your local pharmacy, grocery store, etc.

Facebook does not make it easy for you to opt out of this service either. What I dislike about the options is that you have to use the opt out cookie provided by Datalogix on their site which requires you to have to opt out of every browser you use when you access Facebook. If you are like me, you are on many types of browsers during the day, including the one on your phone. This can be very time consuming.

The best way is to fill out their drop down form on their privacy page. By the way, they make it very difficult to find. Below are the directions:

  1. Go to https://www.datalogix.com/privacy/ in your browser
  2. Scroll down to the “Choice” section
  3. Click on the words “click here” at the end of the following sentence: If you wish to opt out of all Datalogix-enabled advertising & analytic products, click here.
  4. The drop down form appears for you to fill out.


For more details, check out the following articles referencing this privacy issue:

ArsTechnica:  Facebook profiles: now cross-referenced with retail purchases!

CNET: Privacy experts to ask FTC to probe Facebook-Datalogix deal

Financial Times: Datalogix leads path in online tracking

Lifehacker: How to Opt Out of Facebook’s Newest Attempts to Track Everything You Do, Even Offline

The Verge: Facebook’s efforts to track users’ offline purchases for advertisers raises privacy concerns


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