Off-Facebook activity is a summary of interactions with businesses and organizations that they share with us, such as accessing their applications or websites. They share this information with us by using our business tools, such as Facebook Login or Facebook Pixel. Although these interactions take place online, they represent an actual visit to an establishment.
Here are some examples of off-Facebook activities:
• A person visits a restaurant's website. This action creates a record in our data warehouse that represents the visit. Later, if that person logs into his or her Facebook account, we may be given access to that information through our business tools. This includes applications that the restaurant has authorized to see the information, such as having its photos posted on the person's profile page or being sent an email at the email address they provided when they created an account. We also have access to this information if we want to show it to other people (such as friends of the person). Finally, we can collect this information even if the person does not log in to their account because many actions on Facebook can be done anonymously (through cookies or other methods).
• An advertiser pays Facebook for advertising exposure. If someone visits an advertiser's website due to an ad they saw on Facebook, then we record a visit there too. Advertisers may also choose to pay only when someone clicks on their ad.
Facebook is aware of your activities on other websites and in real life. Facebook has introduced a feature that allows users to view how the company records their "off-Facebook activities." The social network records the websites, applications, and even physical businesses that users visit in order to serve highly personalized advertisements to them. These advertisements are based on information about you that you may not have intended Facebook to record.
You can control what information about you is made available to third parties by going into your Privacy Settings. Here you can decide who gets to see your public profile, your friend list, your email address, etc. You can also change these settings for individual apps if they don't respect your preferences set in Privacy Settings.
If you think someone is using information about you improperly, you can report it directly to Facebook. In addition, you can contact us to inform us of any such incident or issue. We will review your complaint and try to resolve it to your satisfaction.
Facebook has only recently introduced a new function, the Off-Facebook Activity tool, which allows you to choose how the firm views and records your online activity (yes, it has been doing that). Before this week, you could only control what information Facebook gave third parties by changing your privacy settings.
The new feature is available only to a few hundred people worldwide who are part of an independent research project conducted by Facebook. These users will be able to access their activity through a dedicated page on Facebook, which includes details about the websites they visited before and after signing up to the trial.
The project was launched in April in response to increasing concern about the amount of personal data being collected online and the lack of transparency around its use. It comes at a time when Facebook is under pressure from lawmakers and privacy advocates to be more transparent about how it uses data.
"As our community knows, we have a major release coming up this year to go over some of the features we're working on for 2019. We decided to start testing this year-long project with a small group of people so we can learn more about their experience and get their feedback," says Chris Cox, head of product management at Facebook.
The "Off-Facebook-Activity" feature is difficult to locate (though you can click that link to go directly to it). To get there, click the drop-down carrot in the upper right corner of the desktop version of Facebook. Then click "Settings" and then "Your Facebook Information." There is an option for "Off-Facebook Activity" there.
You must manually turn this off if you want to use products that track what pages you visit outside of Facebook. For example, if you use Google Analytics to track which websites you visit, then you need to turn off Off-Facebook Activity so that Facebook doesn't think you're still on the network when you visit other sites.
Here's how: Go to your Settings page and look for the section called "Apps". Here you will see all the apps that have access to your information. Select the one called "Google Analytics" and then scroll down to the bottom. Uncheck that box. Now when you visit websites that use Google Analytics they will no longer be able to see what you do on Facebook.