Forget me now.
Facebook hoards much more personal data than many users realize, but now there’s a tool to make the social media giant remove your name from the data it’s learned about you — and stop learning.
“Off-Facebook Activity” shows users just how much of their online movement is being monitored by the network. Launched Tuesday, the tool offers users the option to turn off future activity, clear their history and see the information Facebook has acquired about them.
To access the tool, use the link above or follow these instructions.
I tried out the “Off-Facebook Activity” tool, and Facebook has allowed at least 625 apps and websites to share my personal activity.
The purpose of the data collection, Facebook claims, is to “create a more personalized experience” by showing targeted ads based on your activity.
“These ads are what make most of the internet available free of charge, including Facebook,” the tech behemoth writes in an explainer web page.
However, disconnecting your activity won’t change the number of ads you see, Facebook specifies; advertisements will just be less personalized. Clearing your history doesn’t really delete it, either, but rather simply removes a user’s name from that data.
“The information you disconnect will no longer be connected to your account,” Facebook says. “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.”
The update, first announced in August, comes as social media giants take incremental steps toward data transparency amid user and governmental demands for more privacy control in the face of data breaches, “stalking” apps and personal health information acquisition by the tech giants.