Finally, Facebook lets you take control of your shared data


However, disconnecting your activity won't change the number of ads you see, Facebook specifies; advertisements will just be less personalized.

"Other businesses send us information about your activity on their sites and we use that information to show you ads that are relevant to you", Zuckerberg wrote.

As was suggested yesterday, Facebook's first big privacy-related moves in 2020 seem to focus on allowing the everyday user more control over what info they share.

The company says the launch of the Off-Facebook Activity tool has taken this long to arrive because Facebook had to rebuild some of its systems to make it possible.

The goal of the data collection, Facebook claims, is to "create a more personalized experience" by showing targeted ads based on your activity.

Colin Sebastian, of Baird Equity Research, said: "We remain encouraged by core engagement trends, incremental growth opportunities from new formats and apps, and more broadly the advantages of Facebook's first-party ad business". However, it's important to note that the feature doesn't actually allow users to delete their browsing information from Facebook servers; instead, it simply lets users dissociate collected data from their Facebook account.

Clear History - The option disconnects the data from the account but does not prevent Facebook from receiving future data.

Lots of us are waking up to a creepy reality: When you stop looking at Facebook, it doesn't stop looking at you.

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Previously when the tool was in the talks in 2018, it was to be named as Clear History Tool, but Facebook thought the name might confuse the user.

However, the data will not be permanently deleted.

We receive Jane's off-Facebook activity and we save it with her Facebook account. So Facebook can still tell advertisers how well their ads are performing.

On the next screen, you are provided with a list of all the websites and apps that had shared your data with Facebook.

It tracks who has visited the website and can be used to target advertising. You can click on any item to display details, e.g. how many interactions were shared, and settings to turn off future activity for that particular company, or to give feedback.

Jane sees an ad on Facebook for a 10% off coupon on her next shoe or clothing purchase from the online store. Facebook replaced the tag suggestion tool with a broader facial recognition setting previous year. Click on "More options" and then "Manage Future Activity".

"What Facebook gets out of all that is data that can be super valuable for targeting ads", Oppenheim says.