Facebook has unveiled a new tool which lets users limit Facebook’s ability to target advertising to them based on their activity outside the social media platform.
The Off-Facebook Activity function will give users a summary of the apps and websites that send Facebook information about their activity which is used to decide which ads show up in their newsfeeds. Users will also be able to clear this information from their account and disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their account completely.
Currently the tool is only available in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, but Facebook plans to roll out Off-Facebook Activity everywhere in the coming months.
In a blog post announcing the tool, Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan and David Baser, Director of Product Management acknowledged it may impact the social media company’s business.
“If you clear your off-Facebook activity, we’ll remove your identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send us. 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,” they write.
“We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important.”
The announcement included an endorsement from Luis Di Como, EVP Global Media, Unilever.
“The Off-Facebook Activity tool aims to provide people with greater transparency and control over their own data, helping to improve their online experience. We support this step from Facebook and encourage them and all industry players to continue in the journey to build back trust in the advertising ecosystem,” he said.
The launch is part of a series of product tweaks to provide users more control and transparency over how their data is used on the platform following the Cambridge Analytica scandal and increasing regulatory scrutiny.