The indifference with data privacy has always been an issue with Facebook. The company has harvested user data for targeted advertising (even for political advertising), the most horrifying offender being Cambridge Analytica. Using its commercial tools, such as Facebook Login and Facebook Pixel, FB collects a lot of information about your interactions with businesses and organizations. Logging out of your FB account or removing the FB app from your phone will not prevent you from sharing such information.
To make things better, FB released a privacy feature called ‘off-Facebook activity‘. It lets you see and control the data which apps and websites share with FB, including the information collected by third-party apps.
However, instead of providing a simple way to see what data is being gathered and shared by third parties, FB has buried the option in the settings menu. Via this privacy feature, you can delete the history of apps and websites with which FB has shared your data. You can also disable future off-Facebook activity, which instructs FB to delete any information it has shared from your account. You may also choose which companies you don’t wish to share your activity with, and it will also cease displaying your customised advertisements.
Before we get started with the tutorial, it’s important to realise that the information provided by the off-Facebook activity tool does not include all of the activity data that FB collects to create your profile for advertising purposes. Furthermore, disconnecting your online activity from the off-Facebook activity tool does not mean that the data collected is no longer linked to your FB account.
“This data can still be used without being linked to an individual user to allow us to let business know how their website, app, or ads are performing,” FB says in an FAQ section on its site.
How to turn off the off-Facebook activity through Facebook’s site
1. Log in to your FB account, and then click on the down arrow from the top right corner.
2. Select Settings & privacy and click on the Settings option.
3. Click on Your Facebook Information from the left column and then click on Off-Facebook activity. Or click on this here.
4. Click More options from the right sidebar. Then click on Manage Future Activity.
5. Now from the pop-up screen click on Manage Future Activity.
6. Click on the button next to the Future off-Facebook activity to turn off the Off-Facebook Activity.
How to turn off the off-Facebook activity for selected websites and apps
You can also disable future “off-Facebook activity” data collection for specific apps or websites. To do so, go to the off-Facebook activity page and select Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity. You will be asked to enter your profile password once more. Then you can choose the app or website you’d like to evaluate. To turn off your off-Facebook activity for that specific app or website, click the turn off future activity from [name of business or organisation] option and then hit the Turn Off button from the pop-up screen.
How to turn off the off-Facebook activity through Facebook’s App
1. Tap the menu from the bottom right of the FB app.
2. Scroll down and tap the Settings & Privacy option.
3. Tap on the Settings option.
4. Scroll down and tap on the Off Facebook Activity tool under the Your Facebook information.
5. Select More Options. Then select Manage Future Activity option.
6. From the pop-up select the Manage Future Activity button.
7. Now, toggle off the button next to the Future off-Facebook activity title to turn off your Future Off-Facebook Activity tracking.
How turning off the Off-Facebook Activity works
FB will erase the identifying information that the applications and websites exchange once you turn off the Off Facebook Activity. As a result, FB will have no way of knowing which websites you visited or what you looked at, and you will not receive any targeted ads from those sites.
Bonus: What else can be done to improve your privacy on Facebook
Go to Settings on your phone or PC and click Ad Preferences to customise the ads you see (or don’t see) on FB.
You can discover which advertisers have run ads using your FB’s data under Advertisers and Businesses. When you choose a company and then Don’t Allow, you won’t see advertising from advertisers who utilize that company’s list.
You can also disable advertisements based on data from partners, ads based on your behavior on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere, and ads that incorporate your social actions by going to Ad Settings. This, however, will not delete any data, and you will continue to view the same number of ads as before. The best approach to delete your data is to use the off-Facebook activity function.
If you have an iPhone and have upgraded to iOS 14.5, you’ll notice a new feature called App Tracking Transparency, which requires you to provide permission to applications like FB before they can use your data for targeted adverts.
Liked this piece? Also read: How To Find What Google Knows About You and Limit the Data Google Collects From You.
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