It’s no surprise that Facebook stores an immense amount of data about you. Some of that information comes directly from other companies you interact with online. Here’s how to see which companies upload your off-Facebook activity to the social network.
What is Off-Facebook Activity?
Off-Facebook activity is information that businesses and organizations share with Facebook about interactions you have with their apps and websites. Companies that use Facebook’s Business Tools, such as Facebook Login or Facebook Pixel, share this information with the social network about how and when you use its websites.
- Opened an app
- Logged into an app with Facebook
- Visited a website
- Searched for an item
- Added an item to a wishlist
- Added an item to a cart
- Made a purchase
- Made a donation
Companies use the information they gather to tailor a more personal Facebook experience for you. Activity is used to show you more relevant ads, suggest groups, events, or Marketplace items, discover new businesses and brands, help businesses understand how its website, app, or ads are performing, and to identify suspicious activity.
Sometimes, you may see activity in your off-Facebook activity you don’t recognize. That’s because it may have been sent in through a third-party data service provider or marketing agency hired to analyze a business’ interactions on its apps and websites.
Also, off-Facebook activity doesn’t list all details. Facebook receives a lot more information—but for technical and accuracy reasons—it doesn’t show everything. This includes information obtained when you’re not logged into Facebook or when they can’t confirm you used Facebook on a particular device. Items added to your shopping carts will not appear in your activity.
Facebook prohibits the upload of sensitive information, including health and financial data, date of birth, and passwords. The company also states that it doesn’t sell any of this information to anyone.
How to See What Companies Are Uploading Your Data to Facebook
Now that we know what kind of information is uploaded and stored let’s look at how you can see what companies are sending in data about you and your habits to Facebook.
Fire up your browser, type
https://www.facebook.com/off_facebook_activity/ into the address bar and then hit the Enter key.
For security reasons, you will have to re-enter your password when the prompt appears.
When the page loads, you’ll see the heading “Off-Facebook Activity” with a preview of some of the apps or websites that have recently uploaded data about you to Facebook. Click on any icon to open the full activity list.
On the next page, Facebook will display a list of each app and website that have shared your activities.
Click on an activity item to see more details.
Because it takes a couple of days for all the activity to show in your off-Facebook activity, you may not see everything that has been uploaded. The dates provided in the activity summary are listed when they received the information.
From here, you can view how the app or website shared your information and how many interactions were received.
Clicking on any of the activity details gives you more information about the service itself, but doesn’t show you precisely what’s been shared.
How to Turn Off Future Activity Sharing to Facebook
If you no longer want an app or website to sync with your Facebook account, you can manage future activity from specific apps and websites.
Open your browser, head to your off-Facebook activity list, sign in to your account, and then click on an app or website to which you want to manage future activity.
Scroll down to the bottom of the listing and click on the “Turn off future activity from” option.
Turning off future activity could affect the functionality of an app or website that you regularly use, so read through the warnings before you select the “Turn Off” button.
Turning off future activity doesn’t delete any past activity; it only hides it and prevents anything received from now on from showing in your off-Facebook activity list. Click “Close” to dismiss the message. We’ll cover how to delete your history later.
How to Download Your Information From Facebook
As we mentioned before, you can’t view each interaction in every app’s or website’s activity list entails. For that, you need to download your information and sift through each item to see a slightly more detailed account of all your interactions.
Fire up your web browser and head on over to the Your Facebook information page. Click on “Download Your Information” after signing into your account.
Next, if you only want the off-Facebook activity list, click “Deselect All” to uncheck all the options available.
Scroll down near the bottom and check the box next to “Ads and Business.”
Scroll back up to the top, choose the date range, file format, and the quality of media, and then click the “Create File” button.
Type your password when the prompt appears. You’ll be informed that it will take a few minutes for Facebook to prepare your data. It took about five minutes for ours, which ended up being less than 1MB. Facebook will give you a notification when the file is ready to download.
When the file is ready, click the “Available Copies” tab and then select the “Download” button next to the file.
The file downloads to wherever your browser saves files and will be in the ZIP file format.
How to Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity
If you accidentally removed an app or website from your activity list, or perhaps you want to disable the off-Facebook activity list altogether, we’ll show you how you can do both.
Fire up your browser and head to your Off-Facebook Activity list. Sign in to your account and then click “Manage your off-Facebook activity” located on the right side of the page.
Click the “Manage Future Activity” button.
To turn off this feature altogether, toggle the switch next to “Future off-Facebook Activity” to the off position.
A dialog window will appear containing a list of some things you should consider when turning off this feature. Read through the list to make sure this is the right decision for you. Click the “Turn Off” button to confirm your action. Select “Cancel” to head back to Facebook.
Turning off future activity doesn’t prevent businesses and organizations from sending information regarding your activity apps and websites to Facebook. The data will be disconnected from your account, but Facebook will still use it for their ads systems.
To see a list of all the apps and websites that you’ve turned activity off for, click the “Activity You’ve Turned Off” tile.
Select the app or website you want to manage.
Click on “Allow activity from…to stay connected to your account” to turn activity back on.
After you allow activity again, you will start to see your actions in that app or website appearing on the activity list page.
How to Delete Your Activity History From Facebook
Should you want to delete your off-Facebook activity history, it’s an easy process that you can complete in a few clicks. Be aware, if you clear your activity history, some apps and websites will log you out if you use them to “Sign in with Facebook.”
Fire up your browser and head to your Off-Facebook Activity list. Click “Clear History” located on the right side of the page after signing in to your account.
From the pop-up that appears, read the details over and then select the “Clear History” button when you’re sure you want to delete your off-Facebook activity.
While the off-Facebook activities are an excellent way for Facebook to target ads, make suggestions for groups, events, and Marketplace, it’s not for everyone. Luckily, if you don’t care about these things, it’s easy to manage or turn off this feature altogether.