It has been a long time coming for Facebook users who are tired of being stalked by the social media giant when they’re not even on the platform and this new tool will come in handy. The Off-Facebook Activity was announced in May 2018 during their annual F8 conference and users had to wait for the feature to go live.
This privacy feature was announced at the height of Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and at that time it went by the name “Clear History” and was supposed to give users the option of clearing the browsing history Facebook collected from the sites and apps the users visited off of the giant social network.
The feature launched late last year but only for a select number of countries and Facebook has now finally made the feature available to users worldwide.
The “Off-Facebook Activity” feature will show users 180 days’ worth of the data Facebook collects about users from the many organizations and advertisers in partners with. Worth noting is that even when your device is off, businesses can upload information about you making an in-store purchase.
Facebook will provide its partners tracking software which is embedded in apps, loyalty cards, websites and other systems called tracker pixels(cookie-sharing code) on like 30% of the top 100,000 websites.
How Facebook gets this data to serve you targeted ads
Even when you’re not logged in, these partners can report other identifying information to the social media giant which will match up the activity to your account.
How to access the Off-Facebook Activity feature
The Off-Facebook Activity feature can be accessed in settings or directly via this link.
- Click on Clear History so that Facebook removes that data from your account
- Click on the More Options dropdown menu to access Manage Future Activity and then click on the Manage Future Activity button to stop Facebook from adding this data to your profile in the future by disabling the toggle. Here’s a direct link.
One More Thing
Head to Ad Preferences > Ad Settings > Ads based on data from partners and make sure this option is set to Not Allowed. Here’s a direct link.
It’s not perfect
Enabling these settings will not stop Facebook from collecting data about you from other businesses – Facebook only “disconnects” it from your profile. When you disconnect your account, you won’t get any targeted ads on Facebook, Messenger, Instagram or WhatsApp (soon) as Facebook won’t know which websites a user visits or what they did on that website.
It’s already confusing as users’ browsing data is de-linked from their Facebook account. This means that the browsing data will still be stored by Facebook and not associated with a specific user.
Why Facebook can’t just delete it altogether
The social giant would but it chooses not to – Facebook’s whole business model is based on the vast amounts of data it collects and deleting it would hurt its revenue stream since their real mission is to make money.
What you can do
Opt with a website that fights trackers such as Mozilla Firefox or tools like:
- Firefox’s Track This that throws off advertisers by feeding them misleading data from the cookies that they use to track your web browsing habits.
- Jumbo that let’s you clean your personal data across all internet services and social media from one app in a simple and efficient manner.
- Mozilla’s Facebook Container add-on that prevents the Zuckerberg-owned platform from connecting with other sites.
- These three Chrome Extensions
- Here’s a definitive guide on how to reduce the amount of data Facebook collects on you
- Delete your Facebook and Instagram accounts.
What They Are Saying
Shouldn't you have done that the previous decade? Or earlier. Like maybe 2008 at the latest? 😂 https://t.co/mbrEwHt3KM
— Mark Dice (@MarkDice) January 28, 2020
according to Facebook, today is "Data Privacy Day". They apparently wrote this without irony, too.
— David 48% Murray (@dmurray1983) January 28, 2020
Every day is data privacy day, Facebook… pic.twitter.com/8AKg44PnKT
— Anna Jay (@annalewcock) January 28, 2020