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Facebook users can look at data collected for ad targeting with ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ feature

Facebook has rolled out ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ feature which will allow the users to see the summary of the data shared by different apps and websites with the social media company for ad-targeting purposes. The users will be able to clear the data they do not want to share with Facebook. according to a Facebook official blog post. Mark Zuckerberg had first announced the feature  it was called ‘Clear History’ at the time   at the company’s annual F8 conference in May 2018. The company had said user would be able to see which apps and websites they interacted with, and would be able to disconnect this info from their account, along with an opt-out from this data being collected.

The new feature will be initially available to people in Ireland, South Korea and Spain and then it will be rolled out across the world. Using this feature, users will be able to:

  • look at a summary of the information other apps and websites have sent Facebook through the online business tools, like Facebook Pixel or Facebook Login,
  • disconnect certain information from their account, and
  • choose to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from the account. This can be done for all the off-Facebook activity, or just for specific apps and websites.

Facebook will not get information about user activity

According to the company, Facebook will disconnect the users’ identifying information from the data which is shared by different apps and websites if the user chooses to clear off-Facebook activity. This will stop Facebook to get information about the sites and app visited by the user and in turn target ads on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.

Once the feature is made available, users can see information such as:

  • How Facebook received user data: Business and organisations can share user activity with Facebook using business tools.
  • The number of interactions: Interactions are things that users have done on an app or website. They can include:
    • Opening an app.
    • Logging into an app with Facebook.
    • Viewing content.
    • Searching for an item.
    • Adding an item to a shopping cart.
    • Making a purchase.
    • Making a donation.
  • Activity from apps and websites users logged into with Facebook account: This activity comes from organisations who use Facebook Login.
  • Activity from data service providers and marketing agencies: If users are not able to recognise some activities, it may be because it was sent by a data service provider or marketing agency. Businesses and organizations may use third-party data service providers or marketing agencies to analyse and understand user interactions on their apps and websites. These providers or agencies may then use the Facebook business tools to share the details with Facebook.
  • Activity that isn’t related to any actions: Some activity in the summary may include updates from an app or website that aren’t related to the user’s action. In such cases, Facebook will reveal the date it received those updates.
However, not all activities will show up in the off-Facebook activity. For example:
  • The summary doesn’t contain your most recent activity. It may take a few days for your activity to show in your off-Facebook activity. The dates in the summary are when Facebook receives it.
  • Facebook will receive more details than what appears in off-Facebook activity: For technical and accuracy reasons, it does not show all the activity it received. This includes information it received when a user is not logged into Facebook, or when it can’t confirm that the user used Facebook on that device previously. Details like items added to shopping carts will also not be included.

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