Digital Privacy: Facebook’s Giving Users a Way to Wipe Their App and Website History…”
Facebook is giving users more information about the outside apps and websites that send information about their activity back to Facebook — and a way to disconnect that kind of information from their account. If users decide to clear that off-Facebook activity, Facebook won’t able to use it to target ads at them.
This is likely a move to stay ahead of regulators in the U.S. and abroad that are cracking down on Facebook’s ad targeting practices, eMarketer analyst Jasmine Enberg said in an emailed statement. But it won’t hurt Facebook’s business unless people actually take the time to opt out.
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… today we’re introducing a new way to view and control your off-Facebook activity. Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to.
Imagine a clothing website wants to show ads to people who are interested in a new style of shoes. They can send information to Facebook saying someone on a particular device looked at those shoes. If that device information matches someone’s Facebook account, we can show ads about those shoes to that person. To explain this further, we put together some resources here.
With Off-Facebook Activity, you can see and control the data that other apps and websites share with Facebook.
- See a summary of the information other apps and websites have sent Facebook through our online business tools, like Facebook Pixel or Facebook Login;
- Disconnect this information from your account if you want to; and
- Choose to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from your account. You can do this for all of your off-Facebook activity, or just for specific apps and websites.
[Our emphasis] We are starting by gradually making Off-Facebook Activity available to people in Ireland, South Korea and Spain. We will continue to roll it out everywhere over the coming months to help ensure it’s working reliably for everyone.
What Happens When You Clear Your Off-Facebook Activity
If you clear your off-Facebook activity, we’ll remove your identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send us. We won’t know which websites you visited or what you did there, and we won’t use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger. We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important.
When you visit Off-Facebook Activity, you’ll see the websites and apps that you use regularly, but you might also see some services that you don’t recognize. For example, a website you didn’t visit could show up because a friend looked it up on your phone. Or because you share a home computer with your partner and kids. To help answer common questions people might have, we have additional information in our Help Center.
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About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy supporting corporate product and business model teams with just-in-time fact and insight finding.