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They say what you put out onto the internet stays there forever, but there are ways to limit the reach of your online information.

Do you feel like your social media networks know just a little too much about you? Well, it’s kind of their job. The platforms monitor everything you post, search, and interact with, and your data is shared and analyzed in an effort to curate a ‘perfect’ online experience. Mostly, it’s companies trying to target their advertising to your known needs and interests.

If that makes you feel like you’re under the watchful eye of Big Brother, you aren’t alone. Data collection and sharing are both deeply insidious and frighteningly widespread online. Feeling vulnerable and exposed, some people are trying to wipe their digital footprint off the internet.

Even if you’re not concerned about data collection and its potential fallout, there is always a chance that a social media platform could go under and take your information with it. Yes, that does happen. In fact, it’s happening more and more frequently these days, with kingpin Google crushing squeezing competitors big and small out of existence.

Whether you’re aiming to increase your online privacy or just wanting to understand how much of your data is out there for all to see, learning how to access your online data can be a useful skill to have in your back pocket.

Accessing Your Facebook Data

After years of use, Facebook has probably compiled a weirdly thorough profile of all your data. Because of the sheer amount of information, they’ve also developed a neat little system to catalog it all, which also makes it easier for you to sort and search.

Here’s how to download your Facebook data: On the drop-down menu in the top right corner of the browser window, go to Settings & Privacy. Click Settings, and then go to My Facebook Information. From there, select Download Your Information, and you can access an archive of everything you’ve ever done on the platform. Be warned, though, the file will be massive—several gigabytes, at least.

How to Access Your Data From Apple 

Apple allows you to download all of your personal data. Because Apple’s business is primarily selling hardware and other luxury items, they’re less focused on data collection than web giants like Facebook and Google. That means that your Apple data will probably be pretty tame in comparison. To find your data, just go to, find the Data & Security page, and log in. Be sure to check out the privacy setting while you’re there. 

Accessing Your Google Data is your central database for all things Google. You can see information from all your devices that use Google products. The data is actually so comprehensive and thoroughly tracked, it’s a little frightening. Every video you watch on YouTube, every search on Google Maps, every time you web search a dictionary definition, Google’s got your number.

Fortunately, from the My Activity page, you can clear out your activities by selecting a time frame and then deleting your information. You can control how long your data is saved by setting up ‘auto-delete.’ As a final precaution, you can also run a Privacy Checkup to see what information your Google services are collecting during use.

In our ever-more digital age, web literacy is a fundamental skill! Make sure you know your stuff. And remember, {INSERT BRAND} is always here to keep you connected and keep you secure online.