Facebook may be stalking you when you’re offline. But, there’s an easy way to fix it.

The ‘Off-Facebook Activity’ feature is keeping track of your search history while offline

FILE - This March 29, 2018 file photo shows the Facebook logo on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. Any EU country's privacy watchdog can take legal action against companies like Facebook over cross-border violations of the bloc's strict privacy rules, an adviser to the European Union's top court said Wednesday Jan. 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File) (Richard Drew, AP)

Did you know that Facebook may be stalking you?

The social media network is keeping track of your online activity, even after you’ve closed out of the app, thanks to a feature called, “Off-Facebook Activity.”

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Whether you’re scouring Google Maps, Safari, playing a game on your phone, etc., Facebook may be taking note. But, don’t panic, as there is a way to fix it with just the flip of a switch. Or an online switch at that.

How to turn off “Off-Facebook Activity”

  • From your phone, go into ‘Settings and Privacy.” Then, select “Settings.”
  • From there, scroll down until you see “Your Facebook Information” and select “Off-Facebook Activity.”
  • If you want to turn off the setting, tap “More Options” and “Manage Future Activity.” You’ll then be prompted to select “Manage Future Activity” again, and from there, tap the switch to off, next to “Future Off-Facebook Activity.” Then you’re all set!
  • If you want to clear the history that’s already been stored, just return to the “Off-Facebook Activity” screen and select “Clear History.”

If you’re still stuck on how to turn this feature off, watch the instructional video from Facebook here.

Why does “Off-Facebook Activity” exist?

The social media network came up with the feature for a number of reasons.

For starters, your online activities generates data. So when you’re searching for vacation spots or shopping on a website on your phone, sometimes these businesses that you’re looking at will share that data with Facebook.

That data is then used by Facebook to target certain ads just for you and helps find you better deals on the same products or services you were looking for, according to Facebook’s website.

In other words, the Off-Facebook activity is a “summary of activity that businesses and organizations share with us about your interactions, such as visiting their apps or websites,” Facebook said in a statement.

Now with this feature turned off, this just means your ads won’t be personalized or geared toward your off-app activity.

For more on this, click here.

So, will I stop seeing ads on Facebook?

Not necessarily. However, by disengaging the “Off-Facebook Activity” feature, the ads on the platform will be less personal to the user, according to the social media network.

What if I see a business or advertisement that I do not recognize?

The company said it receives information from businesses that “use third-party data service providers or marketing agencies to help with content and ads.”

To review your off-Facebook activity, the company said to follow these steps:

  • Click in the top right of Facebook.
  • Select Settings & Privacy, then click Settings.
  • Click Your Facebook Information at the left column.
  • Click Off-Facebook Activity to review. From here, you can also click Manage Your Off-Facebook Activity for more information. You’ll be asked to re-enter your password.

For more information on limiting your accounts’ privacy features, click here.

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About the Authors:

Cody King is a digital journalist for KSAT 12. She previously worked for NewsChannel 20 in Springfield, Illinois.

Jakob Rodriguez is a digital journalist at KSAT 12. He's a graduate of Texas State University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the student-run newspaper, The University Star.