After a bit of a delay, Facebook is rolling out a new tool allowing users to delete the data third-party sites and apps share with Facebook in order to serve advertisements.
The tool, dubbed “Off-Facebook Activity,” will let users “see a summary of information Facebook receives about your activity on other apps and websites. You also have the option to disconnect it from your account,” the social network said in a Tuesday blog post.
The data collected by third-parties can be gathered by logging onto sites and apps using Facebook or via cookies. In its blog post, Facebook said it uses this information to know what users have searched for — from backpacks to vacation spots — and then serve them refined ads.
As part of the new tool, users can hit a “clear history” button that purges what third-parties have collected and shared. It does not prevent these sites and apps from collecting data in the future, though, and Facebook warns using this feature will log users out of their apps.
“Off-Facebook Activity” comes after Facebook was under heavy scrutiny following the Cambridge Analytica data leak in 2018, where up to 87 million users had their information unknowingly scrubbed by the now-defunct political data firm. Soon after the leak came to light, Facebook and CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised a tool that would give users more control over their data. Facebook first shared its plans for the tool in May 2018 at its F8 Conference, but it’s since been held up by a lawsuit and internal delays.
The tool rolled out to some users last year, but will now be available to all Facebook users beginning Tuesday. Here are the directions Facebook shared for reviewing your off-Facebook activity:
Facebook is set to share its Q4 financial performance on Wednesday.