Facebook launched a new feature called Off-Facebook Activity which gives further user transparency control by letting users to learn about the information sent by apps or websites they visited and disconnect from future Off-Facebook Activity.
To explain the feature, an example case could be if a retail store wants to advertise a new product. Then, that retail store can give information to Facebook that someone viewed their product with the following account. If advertiser information and a Facebook account match, Facebook will then show ads of the new product. It then personalizes a user’s ad viewing experience.
However with the new Off-Facebook Activity feature, users can:
- Learn about the information provided by certain websites and apps to Facebook through apps like Pixel or Login
- Disconnect information from their account and
- Disconnect future information on one’s Off-Facebook Activity or apps and websites
This will make it difficult for apps and websites to get and share personal information of the user.
So far, the update is available to users in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain. Other countries will get the feature in the coming months.
Effects of Clearing Off-Facebook Activity
Once a user clears their Off-Facebook data, all identifying information sent from apps or websites to Facebook will be removed. Facebook further establishes that it’ll no longer personalize a user’s ad experience on its different platforms through an individual’s website visit or app usage. Also, the social media platform emphasizes that user control is a priority.
Since the user can opt to disconnect Off-Facebook activity, ads will still appear but may not be relevant to user’s activity or information. Another way ads could appear is through the presence of other people using the same network or computer that could impact a user’s ad viewing experience.
The Creation of Off-Facebook Activity
Facebook highlighted their engineering team’s efforts on the manner in which they gather and deal with the data collected. By doing so, Facebook consulted privacy experts and reached policymakers, advocates, industry groups, and advertisers to receive insight on the matter. Options like reconnecting features and disconnecting information should be of high importance to have a better experience on Facebook.
Facebook aims to continue its path towards transparency and user control. They also invite privacy experts, policymakers, and advertisers to help creating more features and tools for a better online community.
Implications for Brand Marketers:
Brand marketers can expect reduced advertisement engagement from users as disconnected their information. However, brand marketers could still reach a wide range of audience and should continue their marketing and advertising strategy despite user controls. As such, marketers can consider localized marketing, which can target public networks.