Facebook revisits privacy isues with off-site activity monitor

Of Site Data
Facebook is giving users the facility to see and limit the information other companies have on them

Irish users among first to get a crack at new privacy tool

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20 August 2019 | 0

Facebook users in Ireland, South Korea and Spain are the first to trial a new feature from that promises to limit the amount of data the social networks holds about its users.

The new tool, Off-Facebook Activity, lets users see a summary of the apps and websites that sends the social network information about their activity, and clear this information from your account.

“This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook, along with recent updates to our Ad Library, updates to “Why am I seeing this ad?” and the launch of a new feature called “Why am I seeing this post?” wrote Erin Egan, chef privacy offer, policy and David Base, director of product management, on a company blog.

“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 recognise. For example, a website you didn’t visit could show up because a friend looked it up on your phone.”

Facebook has been teasing better ways to manage user privacy since last year’s F8 developer conference when the Cambridge Analytica scandal was at its height. The company has been repeatedly criticised for making it hard for users to control the amount of data they share with the social network and for lacking clarity in explaining how users data is used.

It should also be noted that Facebook hasn’t promised not to collect data from activity away from its website, merely that the information won’t be traceable to specific users.

So, Facebook will still be able to collect information on broad trends and to hang on to data whether you like it or not.

TechCentral Reporters

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