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Facebook launches tool to let users control data it gathers about their web activity

Aug 20 2019 19:11

Facebook, under pressure to ramp up privacy rules across its platform, said on Tuesday it was rolling out a tool allowing users to control data that it receives from other apps and websites about their online activity.

The new tool is to give clients access to their so-called "off-Facebook activity" - fed back to Facebook with the aim of targeting advertisements - and give them the option of deleting it.

"Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to," it said in a statement.

"This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook," it said.

Currently, commercial websites visited by a customer who also has a Facebook account may send Facebook details of that visit, prompting the social network to show that person ads related to any product they may have searched for.

'It could impact our business'

With the new Facebook tool, users will be able to see a summary of information that other apps and websites have sent Facebook through business tools such as Facebook Pixel or Facebook Login.

They then have the option of disconnecting this information, or all future off-Facebook activity, from their account.

The new feature will be rolled out first in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, and then everywhere else over the coming months, Facebook said.

"We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important," it said.

Last month, US regulators slapped Facebook with a record $5bn fine for data protection violations in a wide-ranging settlement that calls for revamping privacy controls and oversight at the social network.

"We've agreed to pay a historic fine, but even more important, we're going to make some major structural changes to how we build products and run this company," Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg said at the time, adding that "we're going to set a completely new standard for our industry," he said.

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