That Facebook collects data about you should come as no surprise. Moreover, the company uses information from numerous sites and apps to compile its personal dossiers. And though the decision to post something on Facebook (or not) rests with you, third-party services won’t generally inform you what data they transmit and to whom.
Not so long ago, Facebook began offering users the ability to view and manage information collected from third parties. You’ll find that option, Off-Facebook Activity, in Facebook’s privacy settings:
Although you can’t ban data collection, you can dig around Off-Facebook Activity to find out who’s spilling what about you to the social network and unlink your profile from such information. That’s something, at least.
Who reports your activity to Facebook
Sites and apps employ various social media tools, from the “Sign in with Facebook” button to analytics tools, to share information with Facebook.
You’ll find some of those providers right there on the Off-Facebook Activity page. To open the full list, click or tap Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity. At this point you’ll have to enter your password.
The sheer scale of the data collection may blow you away: Facebook’s partners include news portals, banking apps, and many more. You may find a site listed that you don’t even remember visiting because it’s just a search result you accidentally clicked.
What data do sites and apps transfer to Facebook?
Off-Facebook Activity consists primarily of information about your interactions with other services. For example, a media site might inform the social network that you read the latest news, and an online store would report that you viewed or bought a product.
The Facebook settings show only the number of actions a particular resource has shared, but you can download an archive with details:
Go to Settings → Your Facebook Information → Off-Facebook Activity → Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity; On the page listing the apps that send information about your activity to Facebook, select Download Your Information. (In the mobile app, tap the icon in the upper right corner of the screen first); If necessary, select what data and for what period to download. By default, Facebook creates an archive of all information related to you, including your posts, activity on the social network, and more. If your sole interest is data from third parties, uncheck all boxes except for Ads and Businesses; Tap Create File.
Creating the archive takes anywhere from a few minutes to several days. A simple request for just Off-Facebook Activity information will most likely be quite quick.
Facebook notes that it actually receives more data than what you see. Nevertheless, the information can be illuminating. What’s more, you can register a complaint against any service that you find passed sensitive data to Facebook:
Go to Settings → Your Facebook Information → Off-Facebook Activity → Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity; In the list of sites and apps, click or tap the name of the service; Click or tap Give feedback about this activity; Select the reason for the complaint. How to delete data from your account
Facebook lets you clear your profile of data already collected about you. To prevent past online activity from influencing the ads you see, go to Settings → Your Facebook Information → Off-Facebook Activity and click or tap Clear History.Continue reading