What Is Facebook Doing With User Data?

October 21, 2019

We have a message to Facebook, what the heck is going on with how you treat user data?

ITV shares in “Facebook Introduces ‘Clear History’ Tool But Your Data Won’t Be Deleted” that Facebook is rolling out a new feature that will disconnect, but not delete, user browsing history from its servers. The new feature is called the Of-Facebook Activity and provides a summary about third party apps and Web sites that report your activities to Facebook. This allows Facebook to send users targeted ads from desired products to political campaigns. Users can now opt out so Facebook will not access their browsing history.

When users turn on the Off-Facebook Activity, Facebook will still receive data, but personal information will be removed from it. Browsing history will not be used to send users targeted ads. Facebook wants to continue harvesting data, so they carefully selected the term “clear history” to communicate that data will not be deleted, just cleared of personal information. Facebook claims they need the information to share with businesses about their ad campaigns effectiveness. What does this mean for Facebook?

“With this tool, Facebook will no longer be able to target specific ads to their users, and the social media platform admitted in a blog post, the feature “could have some impact” on Facebook’s business. But it added “giving people control over their data is more important.””

Even though Facebook used the term “clear history” it is misleading and most people will not read the fine print about it. It is great that Facebook is giving users a report about how their information is shared with third parties, but why not give it a different name like “anonymous mode” or “privacy mode.”

Whitney Grace, October 21, 2019

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