TORONTO – Facebook now collects user data on other websites and apps from Canadian users. According to the social network, the change is meant to help bring more tailored ads to users.
But privacy experts are not happy with the move.
Previously, Facebook tracked user data on its own site – evaluating which links you click on, which pages you visit and even how long you spend reading a post. But now, the social network can track what websites you visit outside of Facebook and share that information with advertisers.
Facebook has been using internet-based advertising in the U.S. since June 2014, but the feature is starting to roll out to international users – including Canadians – now.
Facebook does allow its users to opt-out of some of the targeted advertising features, but they must do so manually in their privacy settings.
Users were warned about the changes last year, but privacy regulators are crying foul because Facebook automatically opts users into the data-tracking program.
Many argue users should be able to choose whether or not they opt in right off the bat.
The change has ignited harsh criticism from the European Union’s privacy watchdog, who has accused the social network of profiting off of users without their consent.
Hamburg’s privacy watchdog has even questioned if the change breaks German law.
How to opt out
Canadian users can opt out of Facebook’s targeted advertising through the Digital Advertising Alliance of Canada’s website.
The good news is this doesn’t just apply to Facebook – you are able to see all of the companies that participate in this type of advertising. The site will run a check to see how many companies have enabled customized ads for your browser and allow you to opt out of some, or all of them.