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Facebook knows exactly how many times you’ve searched for your ex

Reuters/Brendan McDermid
Get rid of those embarrassing queries.
  • Hanna Kozlowska
By Hanna Kozlowska

Investigative reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

Facebook knows a lot about you—including every time you’ve searched for an ex, a crush, or any other person on the platform.

This little tidbit is part of a 225-page document which includes hundreds of questions for Facebook from US senators from the Judiciary Committee, and the company’s answers, submitted Friday (June 8). They are follow-ups to Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony before the committee in April.

California senator Kamala Harris asked in detail about the scope of Facebook’s data collection, and whether it “collects and permanently stores” every search users make for another person on Facebook.

The company answered that indeed, it did keep all the records of your online stalking. There’s good news: you can delete any search query you want, although it will take about six months for the log to completely disappear, Facebook says. Just 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, but better be safe than sorry, right?

Facebook’s responses to the Senate revealed some other creepy things it knows about you, including tracking your mouse movements, and whether you’re actively looking at Facebook or if it’s in the background.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Facebook received more than 2,000 questions from senators. That number actually reflects the total number of questions from both the Senate and the House.

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