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New Facebook privacy feature

Updated: Jan. 29, 2020 at 9:59 PM CST
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Facebook privacy changes announced Wednesday are a result of a new law coming out of Europe called the General Data Protection Regulation. It’s being called the most sweeping overhaul of online privacy in over 20 years and could potentially cut down on the number of data breaches.

Facebook has come under fire when it comes to your privacy and the data they collect.

“They’ve been really hiding the information from us, not giving users a whole lot of control,” says social media expert Maree Jones.

But now their hand is being forced by a new law out of Europe. The General Data Protection Regulation forces Facebook to show users how their information is being used and shared through a new feature called “Off Facebook Activity.”

“That allows you to adjust your settings and remove the ability for websites or for Facebook to track your off Facebook activity," says Jones.

Every website you visit and every app you use shares information about you to Facebook. Facebook then uses that information to produce targeted ads, which is why you’re seeing an ad for that dress you just looked at on another website. It’s up to you if you want these websites to keep sharing information.

If you want to stop it, here’s how you turn it off:

Click the icon with three lines, called the hamburger. It’s either in the upper or lower right-hand corner. Click on ‘Settings and Privacy’, then on ‘Settings’. Scroll down until you see the section called ‘Your Facebook Information’. Under that you’ll see “Off Facebook Activity”. Click on “More options” and then “Manage Future Activity”. You’ll see another button at the bottom that says “Manage Future Activity”. Click that, and then toggle the blue highlighted button to the left.

The feature is only on mobile right now and could be offered on desktop in the near future.

“Eventually we’ll see what kind of impact it has. If it cuts down on user’s privacy fears or possible data breaches or hacking or anything like that that could possibly end up harming the users,” said Jones.

You might have to sign back in to your account on other websites, or create new accounts after you turn off the “Off-Facebook Activity”. Turning it off may take 48 hours until it’s fully disconnected.

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