Facebook made an update to Privacy options this week that allows users to stop tracking with “off-Facebook activity.” If you get to the “Off-Facebook activity” section of your Privacy Settings, you’ll see the option to stop “Future off-Facebook activity.” That option can be switched OFF, at which point you’ll be warned by Facebook that “Your experience may be less personalized and the ads that you see may be less relevant to you.”
As was suggested yesterday, Facebook’s first big privacy-related moves in 2020 seem to focus on allowing the everyday user more control over what info they share. With this latest move, they’ve appeared to make the biggest public confirmation that they do, indeed, track users everywhere, as often as possible.
Facebook tracks users when they’re not using Facebook. Facebook tracks people that have Facebook accounts AND people who do not have Facebook accounts. It does not matter if you’ve never signed up for a Facebook account – it’s entirely possible that 3rd-party organizations have sold data about you to Facebook.
Facebook suggests this week that they’re allowing users to opt-out of this system with a relatively simple process. Not easy as in one-click-easy, but easy enough that it seems real.
If you head to the newest iteration of the official Facebook Off-Facebook Activity page, you’ll see options to “Manage your Off-Facebook Activity” and “Clear History.” You’ll also see “Manage Future Activity” – that’s the one you’ll want to visit first if you’d like to say to Facebook that you’d like this tracking to stop.
Saying such a thing to Facebook doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll never be tracked by any service ever again. The sheer number of items on the “What You Can Do” list gives us some indication of the intricate nature of this tracking business – one of the most profitable businesses in the world today. Facebook wants you to believe that you’re in control – they do not want you to leave Facebook, even though you most certainly can leave Facebook at any time, if you wish.