If you have a Facebook account, you should know that you have more control over what information you share with the company than ever before, especially with the Off-Facebook Activity tool.
Money expert Clark Howard says that Facebook has built “an ultra-deep dossier on you to target you, to sell ads to you and sell information about you to others.”
The Off-Facebook Activity tool lets you manage “the permissions you gave them when you signed up, including the ability to spy on you whenever you’re online,” he says.
Here’s How to Delete What Facebook Knows About You
Let’s talk about how you can use the Off-Facebook Activity tool to delete what the site knows about you.
The tool lets you see all of the apps and websites that share information with Facebook about what you do online. You can:
- Choose to delete specific apps and websites
- View what other sites have sent to Facebook
- Disable future off-Facebook activity from your account
The steps are generally the same on mobile and computer, so let’s get started.
You can access the direct link to Off-Facebook Activity here. Here are the complete steps:
1. Log onto Facebook and click on the down arrow in the navigation panel to access Settings. Then in the left-hand rail click Your Facebook Information.
From this page you’ll see the following controls:
- How to access your information
- Download your information
- Activity log
- Off-Facebook Activity
- Managing Your Information
- Deactivation and Deletion
2. Click on Off-Facebook Activity.
It will take you to a page that gives you two options. In the top left corner, above Clear History (which we’ll talk about later) you’ll want to:
3. Click Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity.
4. Log back in.
As a security measure, the site may log you out and prompt you to re-enter your password. Once you’ve done that, it’ll take you to a page that shows all the websites and apps that are sharing your information with Facebook.
In my case, it showed 509 websites with my information! It even logged sites that I had visited in recent days.
5. Click on the sites you want to remove. When you click on a specific website, a box will pop up that shows you:
- How Facebook got the activity
- What Facebook does with the activity
- What you can do with the activity
If you have a lot of sites logged (like me), it may take you a while to scroll down and choose which ones to delete.
6. Click on Turn off future activity for the website you want to remove. It’s located at the bottom of the page.
Then it will take you to a dialog box where Facebook shows you what turning off that particular website’s activity means, including:
- That it may still receive some information for measurement purposes, but it will be disconnected from your account
- That you may still see ads for a particular website or product due to your ad preferences
7. At the bottom of this box, confirm by clicking the blue Turn Off button.
After that, you’ll see a message that says that the turned-off website has been hidden from your list but your past activity has not been disconnected.
Clear Your History
If you want to zap the many websites that have shared your activity with Facebook in the past all at once, go back to the Facebook Activity Page and click on Clear History, which we mentioned earlier.
This will disconnect Off-Facebook Activity from your account. Once you click Clear History you’ll see a dialog box that tells you:
- Your activity history will be disconnected from your account
- Clearing your history may log you out of several websites you use
- You’ll still see Facebook ads, but they’ll be based on your on-Facebook activities
After you’ve followed these steps, you can rest easy knowing that your identifying information has been removed from the data that other websites send to Facebook.
Here’s how Facebook puts 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.”
If you have any other questions or just want some free advice, contact Clark’s Consumer Action Center at 404-892-8227 Monday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. ET and Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET.