In response to our stories about how thousands of websites are giving your browsing information to Facebook so they can target you for ads, a reader had this to say:

“I use DuckDuckGo as my search engine and I’m not tracked.”

I have some bad news for her.  It doesn’t matter what search engine you use in this case because it’s the websites themselves that are giving the information to Facebook. While there are ultra-private browsers that can shield you from third-party trackers following you around online, the tracking happening in this case isn’t from a third-party company.

You can click here to read how I discovered that apps and websites were giving my browsing activity to Facebook.

The sites you are visiting are sharing that information. If you sign in to an account or make a purchase or do anything where the site knows where you are, there’s a chance they are sharing that information with Facebook even if you’re using a private browser.  There’s no way to sign in to an account or make a purchase without the site where you’re doing it recording that information. Even the most private browser can’t protect you if the company hosting the site is voluntarily sharing that information.