This Privacy Setting Helps Keep Instagram and Facebook From Tracking You
You can make sure Facebook and Instagram aren't tracking you across the web. We'll tell you how.
Katie TeagueWriter II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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You probably know you can be tracked across the web by Facebook and Instagram -- and maybe you've already turned that privacy setting off on Facebook with the Off-Facebook Activity tool. But now there's finally a way to turn off Facebook and Instagram's tracking all in one place.
The new Activity Off-Meta Technologies tool, previously known as Off-Facebook Activity, lets you see and control data that apps and websites share with the platforms -- and monitor the kind of information third-party apps can access. With the privacy feature, you can clear the history of apps and websites that have shared your data. You can also disconnect any information Meta has shared from your account. Or you can selectively choose which companies you want to stop sharing your activity with, and it'll stop showing those targeted ads.
Here's how to get a better grip on your Facebook and Instagram privacy.
How to manage what sites share with Facebook and Instagram using the Activity Off-Meta Technologies tool
Using Meta's business tools, you can see what information apps and websites have sent to the company. From there, you can clear the information from your account and turn off future tracking from your account. You'll be able to control this for all apps and websites so they'll no longer be able to share your search activity with Facebook or Instagram.
To get started on Facebook, go to Settings & Privacy > Settings > Off-Facebook Activity. From there, you can manage your Off-Facebook Activity, clear all history and disconnect any future activity on your account.
On Instagram, click on your profile button and select the stacked three lines in the top right. Then, go to Settings and privacy > Accounts Center > Your information and permissions > Your activity off Meta technologies. From here, you can disconnect specific activity, clear activity and manage future activity.
What happens when you turn off Activity Off-Meta Technologies
Once you clear the activity managed by the tool, Facebook and Instagram will remove your identifying information that the apps and websites share. That means the Meta apps won't know which websites you visited or what you looked at, so you won't see targeted ads from those sites.
What else you can do to improve your privacy on Facebook and Instagram
If you'd like to control which ads you see (or don't) on Facebook, go to your Settings on your phone or desktop and select the Meta Accounts Center, then tap on Ad preferences. Here, you can see recent ad activity, advertisers you've seen, ad topics and ad settings. Note that you can access your Instagram settings from Facebook, too.
Under Advertisers You've Seen Most Recently, you can see which advertisers have run ads using a list uploaded to Facebook containing your information. By each company, you'll see a button to Hide Ads -- you won't see ads from advertisers when they use a list from the company if you hide them.
You can also go to Ad Settings and turn off ads based on data from partners, ads based on your activity on Facebook Company Products that you see elsewhere and ads that include your social media actions. However, doing this won't delete any data and you'll still see the same number of ads as before. The Off-Facebook Activity feature is the best way to remove your data.