After a series of scandals related to Facebook privacy, the company has been trying to regain user confidence by empowering them with tools and features that give them more control.
One such tool is the Off-Facebook Activity feature that was recently announced. It lets you see a summary of the many apps and websites that have some of your data. And, the most important thing — the new feature lets you clear this data from your Facebook account.
What is Off-Facebook Activity?
The new tool will have controls that allow you to manage what apps and websites do with data harvested from your activity off Facebook.
Let’s go into detail about how Off-Facebook Activity will work. Here are three things you need to know about the feature:
1. See which apps and websites share your information
The Off-Facebook Activity feature will allow you to:
- Access a summary of the apps and websites that give Facebook information about you
- Disconnect the information from your Facebook account
- Stop apps and websites from connecting to Facebook in the future
In a recent blog post on the new feature, here’s how the company says that works:
“Imagine a clothing website wants to show ads to people who are interested in a new style of shoes. They can send information to Facebook saying someone on a particular device looked at those shoes. If that device information matches someone’s Facebook account, we can show ads about those shoes to that person.”
Obviously, some people will have privacy issues about this process. The new feature will let you stop all apps and websites from sharing this information with Facebook or allow you the option to pick and choose which sites you give this permission to.
The screengrab below shows how those controls will look on your phone:
2. Clear your history
Facebook says when you choose to clear your history, they’ll remove your “identifying information” from the data that apps and websites share with them.
Here’s how Facebook describes it: “We won’t know which websites you visited or what you did there, and we won’t use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger.”
3. When will the feature become available?
You may be wondering when will this feature show up on your account. As of now, the Off-Facebook Activity feature is only available to users in three countries:
- South Korea
Facebook says they are gradually rolling out the feature to everyone in the months ahead. When that happens, you can be sure that Team Clark will keep you informed.
Money expert Clark Howard is serious about Facebook privacy. That’s why he says never put your personal information, especially your birthday, on social media.
“If somebody knows it’s your birthday and how old you are — when they take your full name and birth date — oh my goodness, there’s so much information [online] that becomes available,” Clark says.