Identifying and Limiting Secret Facebook Tracking

It should be well-known by now that Facebook tracks your online activities whenever you use its apps and website. The social media giant also collects data from third-party apps, services and websites when you’re not using Facebook.

However, now Facebook lets you see the data it is tracking from non-Facebook sources courtesy of a new menu called “Off-Facebook Activity“. You can also disentagle data which Facebook has on you with the data it receives from third parties; it’s not quite the same as completely wiping the data.

This is the first time Facebook users can view and manage tracked third-party data.

How to find/manage your off-Facebook data

Visit Settings > Your Facebook Data > Off-Facebook Activity. The tab can be found in the same place for smartphone/desktop users.

There are several options to manage data from the Off-Facebook Activity menu:

  • To stop Facebook from associating its data, tap or click it in the list, scroll down and select “Turn off future activity“. You can also use the “Give feedback about this activity” link to report concerns around the app.
  • The option “Download your information” allows you to save an offline report about all previously-tracked data.

The following are additional options to dissociate Facebook’s data with third-party data:

  • Clear history” will disrupt the link between Facebook and third-party data. It will dissociate your personal profile from data collection, though the activity will continue.
  • Manage future activity” enables you to make swift changes on how Facebook treats data from all apps, including those you might sync in the future.

Bear in mind these techniques still won’t remove ads from Facebook or stop services from sending data about you to Facebook and elsewhere. It simply disconnects your Facebook identity (dissociation) from the information Facebook already has or will get.

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