Facebook rolls out tool to block off-Facebook data gathering

Off Facebook activity

If a customer browsed a pair of trousers on the site and then returned to Facebook, the social network's tracking technology may have shown that user an ad for the same pair of trousers inside the Facebook app.

The company said the tool would also help users to understand why they sometimes saw confusing ads pop up, as websites may have shared data from times when other people or family members were using their phone or computer.

Facebook is launching a long-promised tool that lets you limit what the social network can gather about you on outside websites and apps. Well, first off, you can see a summary of the information other app and websites have sent Facebook through its online business tools, including Facebook Pixel and Facebook Login.

Facebook is finally going to allow users to "disconnect" the information that other websites are sharing with Facebook about their online activity.

The tech giant, which faces mounting criticism for the way it collects and handles data, said it would now allow users to see exactly which websites shared their personal information with Facebook.

The privacy tool will be available to some users in Ireland, South Korea and Spain on Tuesday.

"This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook".

You will also be able to clear your history and prevent your future off-app behaviour being tapped. The company declined to say exactly when it will be launched in the USA but said that it will be available worldwide in the coming months for iPhone, Android and desktop users.

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Jasmine Enberg, social media analyst at research firm eMarketer, said the tool is part of Facebook's efforts to be clearer to users on how it tracks them and likely "an effort to stay one step ahead of regulators, in the US and overseas".

Facebook users could soon see fewer familiar ads following them around the internet-but they'd have to work for it.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about protecting election integrity, fighting "fake news" and data privacy at Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, US.

The report added that the new Off-Facebook Activity tool will not be a "cure-all" for users concerned about their privacy on Facebook, as all of their browsing data will still be collected by the company on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger. The company recently paid a $5 billion fine to the USA government in connection with the data leak, which amounts to about a month's worth of income.

Yet by giving people the option of wiping clean their browsing history outside Facebook and its apps, the company is taking a risk because of its partial dependence on such information for targeting ads at users.

You could be surprised by how much information Facebook has about you.

Facebook faces increasing governmental scrutiny over its privacy practices, including a record $5-billion USA fine from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for mishandling user data.

The privacy scandals that prompted the FTC probe catalysed a broad rethinking across Facebook about the data it makes available to third-party apps and the controls available to users. In July of 2019, the company agreed to change its practices regarding the handling of user data, as well as pay a $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission for privacy violations. "It takes a proactive step for consumers to go into their Facebook settings and turn on the feature".

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