Wednesday, January 29, 2020

New Facebook tool lets users DELETE all the data that is used to deliver targeted ads based on their activity on other websites and apps

A new Facebook tool will allow users to delete data that has been used to deliver targeted adverts based on their activity on other websites and apps. 
The social networking giant is making its 'Off-Facebook Activity' tool available to all users after an initial launch in Ireland, South Korea and Spain last August.
The tool allows you to see what information Facebook holds on you based on other websites you've visited or apps used and then lets you either delete it or leave it. 
Facebook says the tool could have some impact on its businesses but giving people control over their data was more important. 
When first announced in August 2019, the tech giant said the feature would allow users to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their account.
This is information from specific websites that may be gathered by Facebook and can be either removed in its entirety or just for specific apps and websites.
Much of the advertising on the internet is served to users based on previous online viewing habits, with businesses paying for sites such as Facebook to use this activity information to place adverts in front of users it believes are relevant to them.
'Off-Facebook Activity marks a new level of transparency and control,' said Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO.

'We've been working on this for a while because we had to rebuild some of our systems to make this possible.'
The launch of Off-Facebook Activity to users around the world coincides with Global Data Privacy Day - aimed to highlight the need for data protection.
Steve Hatch, vice president of northern Europe at Facebook, said: 'There are a number of ways you can control your information on Facebook and we're always looking at more ways for you to do this.
'That's why from today, our Off-Facebook Activity tool will make it easy to manage which apps and websites can access your information.
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'We're also marking Global Data Privacy Day by reminding millions of UK users to check their privacy settings with our simple Privacy Checkup so you're in control of what you share, and who with.'
Facebook said at the time the tool was launched that the aim was to 'shed light on advertising practices that are common yet not always well understood'.
They said that the average user with a smartphone has more than 80 apps and uses about 40 of them every month, making it difficult to track who has what data.
'Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to,' Facebook said in a blog post about the tool.
If you clear all of your data gathered from other websites that is held by Facebook then the company won't be able to use it to deliver specifically targeted adverts on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.
In other privacy moves Facebook will be prompting its nearly two billion users to review their privacy settings in a post on their newsfeed.
'You should be able to easily understand and manage your information, which is why strengthening your privacy controls is so important,' Zuckerberg said. 

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