‘Off-Facebook Activity’ names and shames the sites that send your data to Facebook

Data overlord Mark Zuckerberg has announced some new Facebook privacy settings.

A blog post with Zuckerberg’s name attached to it went up this week, talking up alerts for third-party logins and buffed up controls for off-Facebook activity. However, the off-Facebook Activity tool is the only thing that’s really new here, despite the length of Zuck’s blog entry.

Related: How to stop Facebook tracking you when you’re not on Facebook

In brief, the new tool will let you see the horrifying amount of data the company has managed to collect on you over the years, even when you’ve not been using Facebook.

Facebook gathers a lot of information from third-party operators. When you log in to some apps and websites, they automatically send data to Facebook, even if you aren’t logged in to your account.

Thanks to the new Off-Facebook tool, you can now see what information these sites have sent and who’s responsible for sending that data. But, most crucially, you can choose to delete it all too.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, who’ve previously raised various issues concerning Facebook security, welcomed the move but believe the company still has work to do.

EFF Associate Director of Research Gennie Gebhart said: “This is a good step for Facebook to take, and we hope it pushes other companies like Google who talk a big game about transparency to follow suit. If even Facebook can give people this level of transparency and control around a certain data stream, other adtech players should be able to get their act together.

“That said, it’s an incomplete measure, not least because we know that most users are unlikely to dig into and change their settings. On top of that, this tool doesn’t come close to covering all the ways Facebook collects and monetizes data about you. For example, there’s no way to opt out of Custom Audiences, one of Facebook’s most powerful targeted advertising services.”

Related: How to delete a Facebook account

Over the next few weeks, Facebook is going to start prompting people to review their security settings, so expect a notification to crop up at the top of your news feed soon.

This will nudge you to review your settings via the Security Check-Up tool, which is probably a good idea for all Facebook users at this point.

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