Facebook has developed quite a reputation in regards to the way it handles user data, and how far and deep its tracking can go. Ever since the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the financial consequences that have derived from it, the social networking giant has been making many changes to how users can see and manage the way their data is being collected and used. Today, the company announced what might be one of the more notable steps in this regard, which is the ability to control off-Facebook tracking.
On the internet, many websites you visit can send information to Facebook about the things you see and read online, allowing the social network to serve you ads that may be more relevant to you. This can be particularly concerning since users may never be aware that this kind of data is being shared with Facebook, and Mozilla even has a Facebook Container extension specifically designed to combat this kind of tracking.
Now, Facebook is handing control over this data directly to users. Starting today, in select regions including Ireland, South Korea, and Spain, it's possible to see what websites have been sending your information to Facebook and manage the data Facebook has about you. You can delete existing data and prevent future data collection from all websites or only for specific pages you may not want to see there.
If you delete this data, Facebook will no longer have any identifying information from the data sent by the websites and apps you choose to delete. That means the social network won't know what websites you've visited or what you've looked at, so it won't use that information to deliver ads to you. The company says it expects to lose some money by giving users this option, but it believes that "giving people control over their data is more important".
Facebook didn't specify when this capability will make its way to other regions, but it's likely that many users will be eagerly awaiting a broader rollout.