The Off-Facebook Activity Tool

It’s no secret that Facebook has had notable privacy issues over the past years, including data breaches and antitrust charges. At this point, you’ve probably made your account private, deleted strangers from your friends list, and have been more selective about what you post. If you thought that was enough, wait until you learn about the Off-Facebook tool.

Defined by Facebook, Off-Facebook Activity is “a summary of activity that businesses and organizations share with us about your interactions, such as visiting their apps or websites. They use our Business Tools, like Facebook Login or Facebook Pixel, to share this information with us.”

If you haven’t looked yet, the list of apps and websites that have shared your activity with Facebook is pretty remarkable. You can also access how many of your ‘interactions’ that have been recorded and the last time their trackers watched you. An interaction includes anything from clicking a link to adding an item in your shopping cart. Popular apps and websites that are sharing your information with Facebook include PayPal, LinkedIn, Hulu, Spotify, TikTok, StubHub, DoorDash, and more.

An example of Off-Facebook Activity would be your workout app sharing your preferred exercises. With this information, Facebook can target relevant health-related ads that may suit your needs and lifestyle. Creepy, right?

To turn the Off-Facebook Activity tool off, log into your Facebook account, and select Settings & Privacy and click on Settings. On the left column, click Your Facebook Information. Click Off-Facebook Activity to review and then Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity to turn it off.  Once you’ve disabled this tool, Facebook will no longer have access to websites that you visit, which means you will not be receiving targeted ads from those sites.

If you’d like more control over the ads you see, manage your Ad Preferences. Go to Settings and click on Ads. Under Your Ad Preferences click Advertisers and Businesses. From here, you can manage which companies are allowed to serve you ads.

If this information was your deciding factor to delete Facebook altogether, go to Settings, click on Your Facebook Information, and select Deactivation and Deletion. Facebook deletes your account after 30 days, although it stores your data for at least 90 days. In Facebook’s terms of service, it says, “immediate deletion is not possible due to technical limitations (in which case, your content will be deleted within a maximum of 90 days from when you delete it). Immediate deletion would restrict our ability to: investigate or identify illegal activity or violations of our terms and policies (for example, to identify or investigate misuse of our Products or systems); comply with a legal obligation, such as the preservation of evidence; or comply with a request of a judicial or administrative authority, law enforcement or a government agency; in which case, the content will be retained for no longer than is necessary for the purposes for which it has been retained (the exact duration will vary on a case-by-case basis). In each of the above cases, this license will continue until the content has been fully deleted.”



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