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New Facebook tool lets users hide tracks from advertisers

By Sommer Brokaw
New Facebook tool lets users hide tracks from advertisers
The social media giant is introducing the tool first in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, the company said. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Facebook launched a new tool Tuesday that allows users to clear out their browsing history for apps and websites away from the social network, which can be sold to advertisers.

Facebook has long promised the "Off-Facebook Activity" tool, which is a part of the company's newer efforts to safeguard privacy in light of recent scandals.

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Businesses and organizations often share data about users' interactions on their websites, ads platforms or other services. The new tool gives users a summary of apps and sites that send personal data and allows them to clear the information.

"You see it. You control it," Facebook said in a blog post.

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Facebook is launching the tool only in Ireland, South Korea and Spain to start -- it says to make sure its working reliably. It will become available elsewhere in the coming months.

"It can be really difficult for people to keep track of who has information about them and what it's used for," Facebook said. "This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook."

The new option means less data for advertisers, and a financial hit for Facebook.

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"If this were widely adopted, it would mean less overall revenue for Facebook," Product Management Director David Baser told The New York Times. "And that's OK."

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The move follows other recent changes Facebook has made to give users more control. This year, Facebook rolled out "Why am I seeing this post?" to better inform users.

The changes also follow a major privacy scandal last year involving British consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which collected information on more than 50 million Facebook users without consent.

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