Photo Credit: Reuters
Is Facebook tracking your every move? The answer is partially yes. This is because the social networking giant wants to show you personalised and targeted ads. But tracking your activities isn't new for Facebook. The company last year introduced ‘Off-Facebook activity' — a tool that lets users look at the information Facebook obtains about them from various third parties to better understand their buying patterns and online behaviour.
Facebook gets a large amount of data about your interactions with businesses and organisations using its business tools, such as Facebook Login and Facebook Pixel. You can't avoid sharing that information by logging out from your Facebook account or uninstalling the Facebook app from your phone.
In January 2020, Facebook introduced the ‘off-Facebook activity' tool to let users take a look the information the social networking site gets from third parties. The tool was introduced in the aftermath of the criticism the Menlo Park, California-headquartered company faced over the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal.
However, instead of giving a straightforward way to look at the data being collected and shared by third parties and delete the data with a quick control — just like how you clear your browsing history from a Web browser — the tool designed by Facebook is buried in the settings menu. It will require some efforts from you to turning off the “off-Facebook activity” data.
In this article, we're providing a step-by-step guide to help you turn off the ‘off-Facebook activity' using Facebook's site and app. But before beginning with the tutorial, it is important to note that the detail available on the ‘off-Facebook activity' tool doesn't include all the activity data that Facebook captures to build your profile for advertisements. It also takes a few days for your ‘off-Facebook activity' data to show. Further, disconnecting your online activity from the ‘off-Facebook activity' tool doesn't mean that the collected information will no longer be connected to your 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,” Facebook says in an FAQ section on its site.
Below are the steps that you can take to turn off your ‘off-Facebook activity' through Facebook's site. You can jump to the next section to look at the steps to do the same from the mobile app.
You can also turn off your future ‘off-Facebook activity' data for selected apps or websites. For this, you need to click on Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity from the ‘Off-Facebook Activity' page. You'll be prompted to enter your profile password again. And then, you can pick an app or website that you'd like to review. You can 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 to turn off your ‘off-Facebook activity' for that particular app or website.
Similar to its website, Facebook allows users to access the ‘Off-Facebook activity' tool from its mobile app. Here's a step-by-step guide.
The disconnection will take place within 48 hours from when you've turned off the ‘off-Facebook activity' tracking from your account. It is worth noting that if you choose to turn off the future activity for all apps and websites, your past ‘off-Facebook activity' will also be disconnected.