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Facebook introduces new privacy feature in three countries

Facebook introduces new privacy feature in three countries
Copyright REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
Copyright REUTERS/Stephen Lam/File Photo
By Lauren ChadwickRosie Wright
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Facebook rolled out a new privacy feature in Ireland, Spain, and South Korea to allow users to sever the connection between their Facebook accounts and other websites.

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Facebook has rolled out a new privacy feature in three countries that it says will allow users to better control how their browsing data is used.

The function shows users their "off-Facebook activity" — that is, the browsing activity that businesses and organisations share with Facebook about what apps and websites people visit.

Watch Euronews' Rosie Wright's report on the feature in the video player above.

Facebook receives information such as what content users have viewed elsewhere on the internet, the items people have searched or purchased, and websites people log into with their Facebook account.

That information is then used in targeted advertising.

The new function will include a "clear history" button which allows users to disconnect the information from their Facebook account, resulting in adverts becoming less relevant to their browsing history.

This summary of businesses and information could be very long, as the average person has more than 80 apps and uses roughly 40 every month, Facebook said.

Facebook has rolled out the feature in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain but the goal is to eventually have the feature worldwide.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the concept at a conference last year.

"Once we roll out this update, you'll be able to see information about the apps and websites you've interacted with, and you'll be able to clear this information from your account. You'll even be able to turn off having this information stored with your account," Zuckerberg posted on his platform in May 2018.

Facebook has been under fire over data privacy after it was revealed in 2018 that the technology company had improperly shared 87 million users' information with political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica.

Last month, the US Federal Trade Commission imposed a $5 billion (€4,486 billion) fine on the company for "deceiving users about their ability to control the privacy of their personal information".

It was the largest penalty ever imposed on a company for violating consumer privacy, the FTC said.

But some were quick to point out that although the new tool disconnects the data from your account, it doesn't delete the data. The tool also won't contain users' most recent activity, Facebook said.

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