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My wife currently accesses her Facebook account from two computers, her PC and my laptop. During the course of her Facebook activities she has gradually accumulated a number of 'link-ins' from various sites so that when either PC visits these sites, a corresponding note appears on my wife's Facebook timeline. This tracking is undesirable - she doesn't want to know every time I visit for example www.guardian.co.uk from my laptop. Note that I have nothing to hide, you understand, but there is a principal thing going on here.

So... How can I remove all traces of my wife's Facebook account from my laptop (but not the actual account itself, of course), so that I can visit these pages without her Facebook account being updated with details of what I visited?

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After answering... I'm now wondering (because you aren't totally clear on this)... do you intend on letting your wife continue to use your laptop to access Facebook after this? –  Bon Gart May 6 '12 at 1:47
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My first thought is that this is a result of third party cookies. Disabling those except for specific sites will likely stop the tracking. –  Hawken May 6 '12 at 3:26
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It’s either the instant personalization feature or she has Facebook apps installed for the respective sites. Try disabling instant personalization and uninstalling/blocking the apps she is not using. –  Alex May 6 '12 at 7:13
    
@BonGart - I don't mind my wife using my laptop (eg. if hers is in another part of the house), but to simplify things she has agreed not to access her Facebook account from there. Regards. –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:38
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@AlanHarris-Reid I wasn't trying ti imply that she shouldn't. Just that the solution would and could be different depending on whether or not you would let her in the future. If she's not going to, then just clean the laptop. Otherwise, the creation of an account for her would limit only that account's browser use leaving tracks, as it were. –  Bon Gart May 9 '12 at 0:49

15 Answers 15

You could...

  • use the browsers built-in function to erase all cookies and browsing history every time it is closed

  • use a browser that supports multiple profiles, and create a different profile for yourself

  • use a browser that supports keeping all the user data in the computer's user account directories, and create a separate account on your laptop for your wife

... not that this is all inclusive. Use Chrome, for example.

Then, of course, you could download any number of cleaning tools to clean out all of your cookies, history, temp internet files, etc.

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I don't want to remove browsing history every time I close the browser, but I have now removed all traces of cookies, passwords, etc., and Facebook browsing history, and the problem seems to have gone. Regards. –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:46

If you are running Firefox and you don't need Facebook on that PC, you could try using Adblock Plus and block everything related to Facebook. It's pretty easy to use: once you have installed the extension, just press Ctrl + Shift + S to open up the Filter Management, press Ctrl + R to show filters, and add four new filters:

||facebook.com^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||facebook.net^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||fbcdn.com^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net
||fbcdn.net^$domain=~facebook.com|~facebook.net|~fbcdn.com|~fbcdn.net

This should block everything from Facebook, including your "tracking" problems.

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So does this block the Facebook site its self from being accesssed? –  ekaj May 6 '12 at 1:52
    
i haven't tried it myself, but yes, i'm pretty sure it does block the whole site, too –  LightRay May 6 '12 at 1:56
    
It doesn't. The $domain= options disable the rules for the listed domains. So the requests will not be blocked, if the visited site is facebook itself. However it will block embedded facebook ressources (like the like button) on other sites. –  Gurken Papst May 6 '12 at 22:44

Use Incognito mode (that is the name for the Chrome version, I forget what the Firefox version of it is). Basically it runs your browser without loading (or permanently saving) cookies, cache, etc. I know that the Chrome browser has a way to select which plug-ins are active in the privacy mode. I always use this mode when visiting www.guardian.co.uk.

As was mentioned before, a somewhat better alternative (a somewhat more comprehensive solution) is to run multiple accounts and fast user switching. Your stuff is yours, and her stuff is hers. My configuration doesn't stomp on hers, etc.

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This seems like a cover up, and doesn't fix the real problem. –  ekaj May 6 '12 at 1:43
    
@ekaj care to elaborate? –  skarface May 6 '12 at 1:44
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+1 for taking separate accounts one step further. –  Bon Gart May 6 '12 at 2:01
    
@skarface he has a good point. The issue is that malicious tracking cookies were downloaded (unknowingly or not) by the last person whom used the computer. Simply using incognito mode is a cover up, as said cookies would still exist on the computer... –  Breakthrough May 9 '12 at 4:09

First, run CCleaner, check all of the boxes, and let it go.

Second, log into Facebook, click the arrow beside 'Home', go to 'Account Settings', and on the 'Apps' side bar delete all of the undesired Apps not used.

Third, if you have a virus scanner, update and run it. If these websites are visited outside of Facebook yet they are still being posted to your timeline, you could have a keylogger or something. Change your password (after your virus scanner has done its work, and CCleaner) and try that out.

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Deleting apps from someone else's facebook doesn't sound like a good solution. –  Ben Voigt May 6 '12 at 22:18
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@ekaj - I forgot about CCleaner and how good it is. Just cleared-out a lot of junk with it. Also removed apps from Facebook (with my wife's permission, of course :-) ). Problem seems to be solved now. Regards. –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:55

The best solution for you would be using browser profiles.

With Firefox, it is possible to run the profile manager if you use command line parameter -ProfileManager for the executable command (in Windows, right click -> properties on the link), or even more simple if you add Profile Switcher extension as an addon.

Additionally, you may also use the -Profile switch to specify a directory where profile data is stored at. It is especially useful if you want to carry your profile around with you on a USB stick or something.

Setting up different shortcuts with predefined command line options might be fun, too.

Chrome allows switching profiles through the --user-data-dir= option as well.

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Chrome doesn't need any special options for multiple profiles anymore; there's a great UI, assuming they're tied to Google accounts. You can find it in the settings in the "Users" section, or via "Sign in..."/"Signed in as [user]..." in the wrench menu. –  Jefromi May 6 '12 at 21:53
    
Separate profiles are a nice idea, but unless you are used to it - the problem is remembering to log-in to Firefox (my main browser) using the right credentials. We are both so used to having it setup for a single-user only. Regards. –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:52

Simple! Just log-out of her Facebook account.

Then next time she uses your laptop, ask her to use Incognito mode. That way her log-in won't be stored.

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That's a good idea to bear in mind for the future, but for now she has agreed only to access Facebook from her own pc (I trust her ;-)). Regards. –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:49
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@AlanHarris-Reid it's far from a "trust" issue here, the issue is that malicious tracking cookies were downloaded (unknowingly or not) by the last person whom used your computer. Educate her on why what happened did, how it can be prevented in the future, and why it's an issue (unless you think tracking your online behaviour without consent is somehow fair...). –  Breakthrough May 9 '12 at 4:08
    
@Breakthrough Educating your wife?! Ouch! You're obviously not married! ;) –  HaydnWVN May 10 '12 at 12:34

I use the Disconnect browser extension with Chrome, but according tho their website they also support Firefox and Safari. This extension can block most of the tracking attempts by Facebook, Google and Twitter, but you can download a version which only blocks Facebook.

In my experience it disables all kinds of Facebook integration on third-party websites, which seems to be you goal.

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Set up separate user accounts on each computer that is used by both of you. That way your browser profiles will stay separate as well.

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Separate accounts might be a way to go in future (probably safer than separate browser profiles under the same user-account), but for now it is simpler for my wife not to access Facebook from my laptop. –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:57

If you only need to "not use your wife facebook account accidentally", why not using another browser? If you are using firefox, let's try chrome, opera... I think chrome & firefox are good enough for common use.

If you use firefox and your wife use chrome, there would be no trouble investigating "browser profile" thing (though it's still good to know some little more :)

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The problem is the guardian Facebook app. You need to remove it from her Facebook. I hate that app so much. They call it "frictionless sharing" or something pompous like this. It is just another way to spam all your Facebook friends.

Instructions can be found here: How do I remove the app?

Ask her to remove it and, best of all, have her use a different user account on your computer. If you need a tutorial on creating user accounts in Windows, check this out: How to Create or Delete User Accounts

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It's not just the Guardian that is guilty of this practice - a lot of newspapers do it :-( –  Alan Harris-Reid May 9 '12 at 0:59

Many thanks to all who replied to my original question. I have done a 'belt and braces' approach and am pleased to say that the problem is no longer occurring.

Some of the things I have done: Removed Facebook-related cookies, usernames + passwords from my pc. Checked the 'Tell websites I do not want to be tracked' option in FireFox My wife will no longer access Facebook from my laptop, and has reviewed all the apps relating to her Facebook account (she says she'll be more careful about what whe clicks on in future!) Run cCleaner.

Any answer-specific comments are mentioned with the corresponding answer.

Regards, Alan

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If you use Google Chrome, you and your wife can use different profiles. In short, different Chrome profiles/users segregate cookies, history, etc. for different users, so you and your wife can browse the web as if you were on two separate computers. You can add another user under the Personal Stuff tab in settings, and switch between them by clicking the image at the top left of the Chrome window (Windows). If you want more info, read Google's help article.

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You can block all facebook trackers using Ghostery . If you prefer to load Facebook plugins anonymously use Priv3 (another firefox extension)

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Here are some good programs which can help you wipe-erase-delete-remove-burn all the tracks of any browsing acivity that you may have done. (You need to be careful as it can destroy your system, too) 1. CCleaner _ Enable Wiping 1 or 3 times 2. Eraser version 5.86.1 (not the newer as it is buggy) 3. Defraggler or MyDefrag 4. Paragon Hard Disk Manag 5. Win hex 6. BCWipe 7. Scorch

BCWipe, Eraser, Win hex and Paragon allow you to wipe the file and file tails with multiple passes, but with Paragon, you could truncate the $MFT file allowing you to have just specified MFT as many file syou have (and the setors it occupies). Win hex allows you to do a hex search on say "face*" wildcard term, and you can erase those terms. It is going to be manual which means you have to go through several hours or perhaps days. http://lotstoread.tripod.com/faqs/cleanhd.html

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Try the Fanboy Ultimate List for AdBlock Plus in Opera, Firefox or Chrome.

It blocks the trackers and other unwanted content set by Facebook and other social media sites.

Note that the Fanboy Ultimate List already contains EasyList ad-blocking filters, so you have to disable/unsubscribe from EasyList or an existing ad-blocking list if you're using the Fanboy Ultimate List.

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protected by Breakthrough May 9 '12 at 4:10

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