Remember going on Facebook and stumbling upon an ad for a shoe brand you were searching for a day earlier? That’s Mark Zuckerberg’s minions – namely, algorithms collecting data from your offsite activities – at work.
Privacy protection, to put it kindly, isn’t Facebook’s strong suit.
The previous decade for the platform was rife with data privacy scandals, and its founder Mark Zuckerberg now aims to give users at least some control over what other sites are sharing about their internet history with a new tool called ‘Off-Facebook Activity’.
The new feature aims helps users see and control the data that apps and websites send to Facebook. Facebook receives that data and matches it with your profile to “personalise your experience” – effectively to show you ads for products and services you might be interested in.
The newly-created toolbox, announced in August 2019, provides a number of options to micromanage that third-party information.
You can navigate to “Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity” to see what websites and apps that track your interactions and report them to Facebook.
You can also delete your off-Facebook activity history by clicking on the “Clear History” button or turn off future activity from individual apps and sites.
The “Manage Future Activity” option lets you disconnect all off-Facebook activity from your account in 48 hours, but this will also prevent you from logging in to apps and websites using Facebook.
An example of how the websites and apps you visit share your activity with Facebook
Zuckerberg will still be able to receive data on your interactions with websites and apps, but it will no longer be associated with your account, if the prompt is to be believed.
Don’t get your hopes up – you’ll still see the same number of ads, but they will be shown to you based on what you look for on Facebook and not on other sites.
“One of our main goals for the next decade is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook,” Zuckerberg wrote in a corporate blog on Tuesday.
This seems to be the first little step.
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