- Since they're at an initial stage, the new measures will only be rolled out in South Korea, Spain and Ireland
- The feature enables people to prevent their Facebook account from being tracked by third-party companies or collecting their data while surfing on the internet
- Opting out of being tracked, will significantly reduce Facebook's ability to target specific audiences
- However, the tech giant will continue to offer anonymous data to third-party companies, on its users in the case of advertisement
"We won't know which websites you visited or what you did there," Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, and David Baser, the company's director of product management, said in a blog post. "We won't use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger."
Facebook declined to say when users outside of Ireland, Spain and South Korea would be able to use its new product, known as off-Facebook Activity.
This announcement — which comes almost 18 months after Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's chief executive, first discussed the plans — could be Facebook's strategy to win back people's trust after the long series of privacy scandals, which includes:
- The misuse of users' data by Cambridge Analytica, the political data analytics firm
- The recent disclosure that third-party contractors had listened to people's audio chats on Facebook's platform.
In July, the Federal Trade Commission announced a $5 billion settlement with the company for its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and other regulators worldwide have similarly targeted the social network for both privacy and antitrust concerns.
- Several websites and smartphone apps heavily depend on Facebook's key features, such as embedding Facebook's "like" button on their respective pages or websites, in order to collect and send information on people who use their services, to Facebook
- Such data is then of course, used to target users by means of advertising on Facebook's various platforms.
What You Need to Know?
To disconnect from this online footprint — which is also linked to signing into third-party websites through Facebook's login —
- 1. Users must change their settings to either clear information provided by specific companies that hold data on them, or turn off any future data collection to remain anonymous on non-Facebook sites.
- 2. People can also choose to allow companies to continue sharing their data with the tech giant.
- 3. Facebook is expected to keep users informed when the service is rolled out in their respective countries to determine how their data is shared between third-party companies and the social network.
Apart from the fact that individuals will now have more options to control how their data is being used, the social network will not delete users' internet footprint, and will still continue to use people's anonymized data to target them with online advertising.
This implies that, if a person decides to opt out of the data-sharing program, the person will still see ads on Facebook, but these will not be targeted specifically to that person's interests.
"We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important," the Facebook executives said in the blog post.
This is one of the most highly debated topics over the past week. Is there anything that we've missed? Do let us know about it in the comments section below!