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Tuesday Jan 28 2020

Facebook rolls out tool allowing users to view, delete third-party data

Zuckerberg said Facebook users will be prompted to review their data when they check their feeds, as part of a 'privacy checkup'. Photo: TheNews/File

WASHINGTON: Social media company Facebook on Tuesday said that a new feature allowing users of the network to view and delete data it has collected from third parties will be available to its estimated two billion members worldwide.

The new feature, part of a stepped-up effort to improve privacy practices, allows users to see and clear "off Facebook activity" used for targeted advertising.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said the tool offers "a new level of transparency and control" for the social network, which has been roiled by revelations in the past few years on how it collects and uses data.

"We've been working on this for a while because we had to rebuild some of our systems to make this possible."

Zuckerberg said Facebook users will be prompted to review their data when they check their feeds, as part of a "privacy checkup" implemented by the social network.

Read more: Facebook says it can locate users who opt out of tracking

"As of today, our Off-Facebook Activity tool is available to people on Facebook around the world," Zuckerberg said in a blog post.

The feature will lift a veil on some aspects of Facebook's practices that including collecting data from third-party apps, Facebook logins, "likes" and other techniques that determine its ads served up to users.

"Other businesses send us information about your activity on their sites and we use that information to show you ads that are relevant to you. Now you can see a summary of that information and clear it from your account if you want to," Zuckerberg said.

The move is part of an effort by Facebook to shore up its image in the wake of a series of privacy scandals, including the hijacking of personal data on millions of users by a British consultancy developing voter profiles for Donald Trump's 2016 campaign.

"One of our main goals for the next decade is to build much stronger privacy protections for everyone on Facebook," Zuckerberg said.

"Over the next few weeks we'll show nearly two billion people around the world a prompt encouraging them to review their privacy settings."