Facebook’s New Privacy Feature Comes With a Loophole

WIRED | 8/20/2019 | Louise Matsakis
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By default, Facebook tracks what you do even when you’re not on Facebook, like the products you shop for, the political candidates you donate to, and the porn you watch, using tools like Facebook Pixel, a small piece of code deposited on millions of websites across the internet. The social network uses that information to target you with personalized ads—a business model that is now worth billions of dollars.

But that model has also come under increased scrutiny as privacy advocates, lawmakers, and pundits continue to question why anyone should trust Facebook with their data. In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal last year, Facebook promised that users would soon have more control over their information using a “Clear History” tool, which would delete people’s off-platform browsing records. More than a year later, the company finally announced Monday it’s rolling out the feature, now called “Off-Facebook Activity.” People in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain will have access to the long-anticipated tool first, and it will be rolled out in the coming months to all Facebook users.

Louise - Matsakis - Amazon - Internet - Law

Louise Matsakis covers Amazon, internet law, and online culture for WIRED.

Off-Facebook Activity will give you a summary of the third-party websites and apps that share your visit history with Facebook, and will allow you to clear them. You can also choose not to allow Facebook to use your browsing history for personalized advertising in the future, including on Messenger and Instagram. Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, and David Baser, the director of product management, noted in a blog post that the new tool “could have some impact” on Facebook’s business, but that “giving people control over their data is more important.”

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But not complete control. Even if you turn off Facebook’s ability to use your browsing history for ads, Facebook will still collect that information,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: WIRED
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