Facebook is watching you — but thanks to a newly-unveiled feature, it’s now possible to keep tabs on how Facebook is tracking your activity.
Facebook rolled out its Off-Facebook Activity tracker earlier this year. The tool gives users an itemized list of the websites, apps, and real-life stores Facebook knows that they visited, and lets them turn off that tracking.
The feature fulfills a longstanding promise from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who vowed in 2018 to build a “clear history” tool for Facebook users. At that time, Facebook was in the midst of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, wherein several apps were accused of improperly accessing the personal information of 50 million people. After Zuckerberg promised the “clear history” tool, Facebook slightly changed course and renamed the tool “Off-Facebook Activity,” stating that it wouldn’t be possible for users to delete all their data from Facebook.
The tracker shows information that Facebook has gathered about your activity off the app in the past 180 days. Facebook learns that information from its advertising partnerships with third-party apps and websites, which voluntarily tell Facebook the identities of people who visit them. Many physical stores do the same thing.
Here’s how to use the new Off-Facebook Activity tracker, and how to turn off some — or all — of that tracking.