How To Stop Facebook From Watching Your Activity Around The Internet
By Thanussha Priyah, 12 Feb 2020
Image via Facebook
Facebook has rolled out a new privacy tool called the ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ feature, which finally lets users look at the data collected by the platform as it observes their activity across various sites and apps.
Those heavily personalized Facebook ads that you see are often from information derived from your activities beyond the platform. Now, you get to control them through the new tool.
In order to access the feature, you’ll have to use a smartphone because it is only available in Facebook’s mobile app.
To find it, first click on the menu on the top right-hand side of the screen and select ‘Settings’. You will then see the ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ option located under the ‘Your Facebook Information’ tab.
‘Off-Facebook Activity’ reveals a list of your activity across businesses and organizations outside of the Facebook app. So, if you bought a pair of sneakers from adidas’ website, details about your purchase will be shared with Facebook, which will then be tied to your account.
The activity might be written as, “Jane visited adidas’ website,” and “made a purchase.” This is how you get all the personalized ads.
Once you’ve come this far, you’ll be left with a number of options. You can choose to manage your ‘Off-Facebook Activity’, which means you can specifically select which companies can and cannot share your information with the platform, or you can simply erase all the history completely.
You can also download a copy of your activity by category. When you request a copy of the collated data, it will appear as a “pending” request. The duration of retrieving the results will differ according to the types of data you’ve selected.
If you’d like to completely turn off all the data shared between external sites and Facebook, click on ‘More Options’ from the main page of ‘Off-Facebook Activity’, and then tap on ‘Manage Future Activity’.
You can finally switch off all data-sharing with a toggle button, which might then trigger a series of warnings like, “It can take up to 48 hours for the changes to go into effect,” “Facebook will still receive data about your activity across sites, but it won’t be saved to your account,” “you may be logged out of a bunch of apps,” and “while you’ll still see ads, they just won’t be personalized.”
Happy "Off-Facebook Activity" Day to you and yours!— Eric Mill (@konklone) January 28, 2020
Facebook now lets you see the data third parties send to them about you, that FB connects to your account.
Turns out it's a lot of data! And that the app has many problems! Here's my data, from over 500 sources: (1/5) pic.twitter.com/ORTQOIXZfA
Most of it is websites. But there are also native apps in there, like LinkedIn and a game. More confusingly, there are sources I don't recognize, like AT&T.— Eric Mill (@konklone) January 28, 2020
I don't have any apps from them, and I am not an AT&T customer. So why is this in there? (2/5) pic.twitter.com/JcgtU6zPXb
Every data source I've looked at says it came from "Facebook's business tools", which tells me nothing. Tapping on "2 interactions" is also useless.— Eric Mill (@konklone) January 28, 2020
The download button brings you to the generic screen to download *ALL* your data. No way to focus on off-Facebook activity. (3/5) pic.twitter.com/ZTOHBs3D9u
The app lets you clear your history right up front, but if you want to disconnect future data, you have to tap 4 more times across multiple screens.— Eric Mill (@konklone) January 28, 2020
Tap "More options", "Manage Future Activity", then "Manage Future Activity" again - then you can disable it.
The journey: (4/5) pic.twitter.com/R4BTp9mOry
Fun fact. You can now see what apps & websites are logging your activity & sending it back to Facebook under "off-Facebook activity". Without your consent of course.— TechAltar (@TechAltar) January 30, 2020
Check your list here:https://t.co/t5EFPrsnmm
Did you find anything surprising in your list? pic.twitter.com/zzbJnOPtpC
[via Harper’s Bazaar, images via Facebook]
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