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VERIFY: What does 'Off-Facebook Activity' mean?

The VERIFY team is finding that people have been alarmed by the discovery of how many apps and websites share your information with Facebook.

A lot of Facebook users have recently noticed a tab nestled within their settings called 'Off-Facebook Activity.'

They allege this is evidence of Facebook monitoring what they do on apps and websites outside of the social media platform.

Is that actually the case? The VERIFY team tackled what exactly this setting is and how you can turn it off if you don’t want that information on.

WHAT WE FOUND

Facebook first revealed Off-Facebook Activity in August 2019, and rolled it out worldwide in January 2020 after testing it in several countries prior. So, this setting has existed for several months, meaning that the data you see is being tracked has been for much longer.

A Facebook spokesperson said an app and website have the option to share your activity with Facebook when they use Facebook’s business tools. When they share that activity with Facebook, their advertising on the platform can be more targeted. The activity they share can include if you clicked on an ad, if you put something in a shopping cart or if you purchased something.

The websites and apps you see listed under on your Off-Facebook Activity page are sending your information to Facebook.

Facebook’s information page on Off-Facebook Activity says you’ll continue to see ads when this is turned off, they’ll just be less targeted.

And even if you choose to disconnect from this, the data doesn’t go away. It just becomes anonymous. 

“The information you disconnect will no longer be connected to your account. This data can still be used without being linked to an individual user to allow us to let businesses know how their website, app or ads are performing,” their information page says.

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When you turn the setting off, Facebook also warns you that you may no longer be able to login to websites through Facebook.

You also have the option to turn it off entirely or for specific websites. You can also clear the data Facebook already has.

Where do I find this setting?

You can access it on both mobile and desktop.

If you want to get to the setting from mobile go to ‘Settings & Privacy’ in your drop-down menu, then click 'Settings.' From there you will want to scroll down to the fourth broad category titled 'Your Facebook Information.' There you’ll see your Off-Facebook Activity where you can view your data, clear history, manage your future activity, and so on.

On desktop, you’ll click 'Settings,' and then click 'Your Facebook Information.' After that, you’ll click on Off-Facebook Activity and can adjust your settings from there.

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