Some Users Can Now Opt-Out of ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ Tracking

Facebook has announced the rollout of an option that will allow users to hide their browsing data from the social media giant.

Settings relating to “off-Facebook activity” will show which apps and websites send information to Facebook to help with ad targeting. 

Users will be able to clear their history with the new functionality, and prevent certain data points from being linked to their personal profiles in the future.

Ireland, South Korea and Spain are the first countries to benefit from the new tools. The BBC notes that as two of these countries are in the European Union, the updates could help to placate regulators without doing immediate revenue damage.

Product Manager Stephanie Max defended the practice of tracking consumers off-site by suggesting that it helped users to “discover businesses they care about.”

She went on to say that the company had not modelled potential revenue drops from any mass adoption of the new privacy settings.

Coverage in Wired brought up a loophole Facebook has kept for itself in the redesign. The company has said, albeit in an obscure help centre post, that it will keep collecting off-Facebook activity information and storing it for 48 hours. 

Facebook writes: “Your future off-Facebook activity will be disconnected within 48 hours from when it’s received. During this time it may be used for measurement purposes and to make improvements to our ads systems.”

When Facebook announced its move into online dating in 2018, Match Group CEO Mandy Ginsberg criticised the platform’s record on privacy. 

She said she was “surprised” at their market entry given “the amount of personal and sensitive data that comes with this territory.”

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