TUCSON, Ariz. - Facebook knows a lot about us. Not surprisingly, people are concerned about where that data goes. Something the company’s founder and CEO once addressed on Capitol Hill when he vowed to protect people’s data following the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal. About a month ago, Facebook introduced what it calls “Off-Facebook Activity” settings and CR has been taking a close look.
“What Facebook ultimately decided to do was give you a menu where you could see the last six months of updates that the company has received from third parties," says Consumer Reports Tech Editor, Thomas Germain. "You can also go in and use a tool called “clear history.” That doesn’t actually delete your information but it disconnects it from your account.”
And there’s no way to stop the company from collecting your “Off-Facebook” data in the first place. But for some peace of mind, there is a way to limit what Facebook does with any new data going forward.
“There’s another setting called “Manage Future Activity” and if you use this, you can essentially keep your history cleared by default," says Germain. "Other companies will keep sending Facebook information, but they won’t be able to use it for targeted advertising and they won’t keep it tied to your account.”
But, turning off this setting will disable the Facebook Login tool, which lets you sign in to other apps and websites using your Facebook credentials.
“So, in a way, you are trading privacy for convenience, but for you, that might be worth it," says Germain.
Finding these privacy settings isn’t alway easy. Click here for step-by-step instructions to clear your history and manage your future activity.