Facebook Rolls Out Tool to Block Off-Facebook Data Gathering

22 Août, 2019, 19:27 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Screenshots of Facebook's new feature as displayed on a smartphone screen allowing users to see information collected on them from elsewhere

So, users get to see a summary of the information shared with Facebook, and if required, clear this data from their accounts - either temporarily or permanently.

The feature comes more than a year after Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg first pledged to build a function called "Clear History" that he said would work much in the same way a web browser allows people to see and delete information about the sites they visited.

Formerly known as "clear history", the tool will now go by the slightly clunkier moniker "off-Facebook activity".

The Off-Facebook Activity tool - which Facebook says will be gradually rolled out in the coming months - will be found in the "Settings" menu on the Facebook app. Facebook said users will be able to use the tool to see and control the data other apps and websites have shared with Facebook.

Facebook said it expects this could have some impact on its business.

The Clear History tool is rolling out in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain, and will afford users more opportunities to protect their data from advertisers.

It is important to stress that Facebook will still collect the data, but it will be anonymised - they may know that lots of people have been looking at those boots but they won't know that they include you.

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the company welcomes the feedback.

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This is why when you browse a website for new shoes, you find an ad popping up in your Facebook Newsfeed half-an-hour later telling you about that nifty pair of boots you've just been looking at.

What is "Off-Facebook Activity" and how does it work? "This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook". Users will now have an option to dissociate that data from their accounts.

The company has faced intense scrutiny for its privacy practices in recent months, especially in Canada.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks about protecting election integrity, fighting "fake news" and data privacy at Facebook Inc's annual F8 developers conference in San Jose, California, US. Also, you will be able to disconnect all the information you see from your account if you want to.

The new tool appears to be the latest response to the backlash Facebook has received after it was discovered that the company allowed the consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to allegedly misuse the data for 50 million of its users.

The requirement that users actively opt out of being tracked makes it less likely people will use the option, said eMarketer social media analyst Jasmine Enberg.

Facebook said it initially hoped to provide an option that would let users delete the entire repository of data that the company collected from other sites to improve its targeting of ads. They can send Facebook information saying someone on a particular device looked at those shoes.

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