Facebook announces tool to help users protect privacy

Facebook announces tool to help users protect privacy

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - If you're worried about your privacy when it comes to using Facebook, there's now a tool that aims to help you have more control over your personal information.

Have you ever looked something up or even just talked about it, and an ad for the product pops up on your Facebook feed?

If so, you’re not alone.

“It’s creepy, because I’m searching things and I’m not even on the internet, and they’re popping up, and that’s weird. That’s kind of invasion of privacy, and then it bothers me because my phone is picking up these things that I’m not even searching for,” Katelyn Howard said.

"Just like literally Google something once and then all day I'm seeing advertisements surrounding that kind of event," Ariana Lloyd said.

That’s because businesses do track what consumers are looking at online. In fact, Gambel Communications Strategist Dominique Becnel said 89 percent of marketers say they use Facebook as part of their social media strategy.

“It’s no secret that every business these days are on Facebook,” Becnel said.

But, it’s also no secret that targeted ads make consumers uneasy, and Facebook recently announced it would be rolling out a feature that would allow users to manage their information collected by apps and shared with the website.

“What Facebook is going to do, is it’s going to disconnect the data from the unique user profiles, so they’ll still be able to offer some of those insights to businesses that are looking to advertise,” Becnel said.

The news came a year after Facebook announced Cambridge Analytica may have had data on 87 million people.

"Facebook is rolling out this feature in an effort to increase its transparency in light of recent events," Becnel said.

The tool requires Facebook users to be proactive to turn on the feature.

"Most likely, I will. Just because if there's something I want to buy, I'm going to go buy it. I don't really need it advertised for me, that's not going to make the selling point," Lloyd said.

“That’s definitely something I’m interested in signing up for, because it just gives me chills thinking about me searching something or looking up something and feeling uncomfortable about it, and it can be something as simple as a clothing item,” Howard said.

If many people do utilize the privacy setting, it may have an impact on advertisers.

“It’s something that in the long run, we’re going to have to wait and see how it pans out,” Becnel said.

According to Facebook, the tool will be initially rolled out in Ireland, South Korea and Spain before it’s available world wide in the coming months.

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