19.02.2020

What, if Anything, 'Off-Facebook Activity' Means for OSINT

Recently, Facebook released a new Off-Facebook Activity tool meant to allow users to control what Facebook knows about their activities.
So we took a closer look. After turning off Facebook Graph Search this Summer, we, along with the rest of the OSINT community, carefully followed developments like this one.
How will this tool affect a users' ability to restrict access to their personal data and Facebook activities?
In short — it won't. Well, unless you use Facebook Pixel or another app authorized via Facebook.
The Off-Facebook Activity tool is primarily aimed at restricting information access to services that use these data collection methods. While Facebook promises that any data coming from these sources won't be linked back to the users… They won't stop working with it.
Although we find it hard to believe that Facebook will find it hard to re-personify any data if necessary.
To be on the safe side, we did our homework and thoroughly checked if this new privacy feature affects our systems. We checked twice and didn't find any signs that Off-Facebook Activity restricts SocialLinks in any way.
«I think that this tool is aimed more at strengthening Facebook's monopoly in the advertising business than at preserving the privacy of its users. In general, no huge surprise there».

Andrey Kulikov,
Social Links CEO
While we were testing the new feature, we came across an interesting figure — information only becomes fully unavailable to services 48 hours after launching
Off-Facebook Activity.
Apparently, this is how long it takes Facebook to fully update within itself. This explains why automatically registered Facebook accounts are blocked 48-72 hours after registration on average. And gives food for thought on how to deal with it.
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