Facebook updates its data privacy controls for users worldwide

28 Jan 2020

Image: © ink drop/Stock.adobe.com

Following a limited launch last year, Facebook is extending the Off-Facebook Activity tool so all users can take control of data gathered from third-party sites and apps.

Facebook is making its Off-Facebook Activity tool available to all after an initial launch in Ireland, South Korea and Spain last August.

This tool will allow users to clear data that has been linked to their account based on their activity on other websites and apps.

Much of the advertising on the internet is served to users based on previous online viewing habits, with businesses paying for sites such as Facebook to use this activity information to place adverts it believes are relevant to users.

Using the Off-Facebook Activity tool, people can see and remove information about themselves that has been sent to Facebook by other apps and sites, which is used to serve adverts.

A series of four screens show how to access the Off-Facebook Activity tool and the options available.

Click to view full size. Image: Facebook

When first announced, the tech giant said the feature allows users to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their account, either in its entirety or just for specific apps and websites.

Facebook also said at the time that it expected the tool “could have some impact on our business”, but believed that giving people control over their data was more important.

Data Privacy Day updates

The launch of Off-Facebook Activity controls globally coincides with Data Privacy Day, also known as Data Protection Day, marked each year on 28 January.

In a post titled, ‘Starting the Decade by Giving You More Control Over Your Privacy’, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “One of our main goals for the next decade is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook. We know we have a lot of work to do here, which is why this is such a priority for our teams and for me personally.”

Zuckerberg also took the opportunity of Data Privacy Day to share some additional privacy updates to the platform.

For example, users in the next few weeks can expect to see a prompt in their News Feed encouraging them to conduct a review of their settings using the recently updated Privacy Checkup tool.

Facebook has also introduced alerts for third-party logins. These notifications, rolled out earlier this month, will let users know when Facebook Login has been used to sign in to third-party apps, helping them to keep tabs on how their account is being used and prompting them to adjust their settings if needed.

– PA Media, with additional reporting by Elaine Burke