Facebook users given control over data gathered from other sites and apps

Facebook is allowing users to clear data which has been linked to their account based on their activity on other websites and apps.

The social network is making Off-Facebook Activity available to all after an initial launch in Ireland, South Korea and Spain last August.

Using the tool, people can see and remove information about themselves that has been sent to Facebook by other apps and sites and is used to serve adverts.

When first announced, the tech giant said the feature allows users to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their account, either in its entirety or just for specific apps and websites.

Facebook also said at the time that it expected the tool “could have some impact on our business”, but believed that giving people control over their data was more important.

Off-Facebook Activity
Off-Facebook Activity

Much of the advertising on the internet is served to users based on previous online viewing habits, with businesses paying for sites such as Facebook to use this activity information to place adverts in front of users it believes are relevant to them.

The launch of Off-Facebook Activity controls universally coincides with Global Data Privacy Day.

Steve Hatch, vice president of northern Europe at Facebook, said: “There are a number of ways you can control your information on Facebook and we’re always looking at more ways for you to do this.

“That’s why from today, our Off-Facebook Activity tool will make it easy to manage which apps and websites can access your information.

“We’re also marking Global Data Privacy Day by reminding millions of UK users to check their privacy settings with our simple Privacy Checkup so you’re in control of what you share, and who with.”