Facebook has launched a new way to enable users view and control their off-Facebook activity, letting them see a summary of the apps and websites that send Facebook information about their activity, and clear this information from their account if they want to.
What is Off-Facebook Activity?
Facebook gave the example of a clothing website which 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, Facebook can show ads about those shoes to that person.
With Off-Facebook Activity, users can:
• 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 they want to; and
• Choose to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from your account. Users can do this for all of their off-Facebook activity, or just for specific apps and websites.
Facebook said it is starting by gradually making Off-Facebook Activity available to people in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, adding that it 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, Facebook will remove your identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send it.
“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,” said Facebook’s Erin Egan, chief privacy officer, Policy, and David Baser, director of Product Management in a blog post.
“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,” they added.
“As part of Unilever’s Responsibility Framework, we are committed to creating a better digital ecosystem working with our partners,” said Luis Di Como, EVP Global Media, Unilever. “The Off-Facebook Activity tool aims to provide people with greater transparency and control over their own data, helping to improve their online experience. We support this step from Facebook and encourage them and all industry players to continue in the journey to build back trust in the advertising ecosystem.”
“Many apps and websites are free because they’re supported by online advertising. And to reach people who are more likely to care about what they are selling, businesses often share data about people’s interactions on their websites with ad platforms and other services,” the blog post said.
“This is how much of the internet works, but given that the average person with a smartphone has more than 80 apps and uses about 40 of them every month, it can be really difficult for people to keep track of who has information about them and what it’s used for.”
Copyright 2019 Al Hilal Publishing and Marketing Group