In a blog post on Wednesday, the tech titan announced sweeping changes to the way that people in Europe consent to its cookies.
It means users on the continent now have more control over how the company stalks them across the web.
The changes are aimed at handing users more control over their privacy and to align the company’s practices with EU data protection rules.
“We’re making some changes to our cookie consent controls in the European region,” Facebook said.
“This work is part of our ongoing efforts to give people greater control over their privacy.”
As part of the changes, the company has added a new settings menu to Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
People using the services across Europe can visit the menu to manage their cookie consent decisions “at any time”, according to Facebook.
- Read all the latest Phones & Gadgets news
- Keep up-to-date on Apple stories
- Get the latest on Facebook, WhatsApp and Instagram
The menu will offer people a more “granular” level of control over their cookie choices and more information on what cookies are used for.
That information includes what data Facebook receives from other apps and websites.
The California tech titan is rolling out the changes across Europe now.
Once it’s available in your region, you’ll receive a prompt asking you to explore the new consent options.
Cookies are delicious baked treats, but they’re also a computer file that’s becoming increasingly important to your life.
On the internet, they are small pieces of text used to store information on web browsers.
Facebook uses them to track your activity across the web – not just on Facebook or Facebook-owned services like Instagram.
It helps the social media behemoth to tailor the ads you see on its platform based on your likes and interests.
According to Facebook’s website, the company uses two types of cookie to track its users.
They include session cookies, which are deleted when you close your browser, and persistent cookies, which stay in your browser until they expire or you delete them.
As well as advertising, Facebook uses the data lumps to verify your account and to improve site performance.
While cookies might help personalise your web experience, they’ve come under fire from privacy experts for being overly invasive.
Critics argue that a user’s browsing history should remain private and so should not be recorded just to target them with ads.
Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the new data protection law passed by the EU in 2018, companies like Facebook are required to informs users of what data their apps and websites collect.
They must also let users know what the data is used for, who it is shared with, and how the user can review and reject certain cookies.
Earlier this month, UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden said he planned to reform UK data laws and diverge from EU-enacted GDPR. It’s expected that the rules around cookies will remain roughly the same.
Experts said that Facebook’s new menu bring it closer to the standards of Apple, which prioritises user privacy more than its Silicon Valley rivals.
Dan Ives, a senior analyst at Wedbush Securities, told The Sun: “Regulatory scrutiny of Facebook has reached a feverish point around privacy in Europe and this move speaks to the changing times for Zuck & Co.
“This is a smart and strategic move to give European consumers more control of privacy although to date Facebook has seen steady ad growth and engagement the last 18 months.
“With Apple and Facebook at opposite ends of the privacy debate this is Facebook seeing the writing on the wall in Europe.”
Best Phone and Gadget tips and hacks
Looking for tips and hacks for your phone? Want to find those secret features within social media apps? We have you covered…
- How to get your deleted Instagram photos back
- How to track someone on Google Maps
- How can I increase my Snapchat score?
- How can I change my Facebook password?
- How can I do a duet on TikTok?
- Here’s how to see if your Gmail has been hacked
- How can I change my Amazon Alexa voice in seconds?
- What is dating app Bumble?
- How can I test my broadband internet speed?
- Here’s how to find your Sky TV remote in SECONDS
In other news, check out the new Lamborghini Huracan Evo that can clean your house and cook you dinner.
Check out the wildly impressive Panasonic 65HZ1000 TV, which makes most tellies look rubbish.
Read our complete guide to Call of Duty 2021.
And Dell’s Alienware R10 Ryzen Edition is a gaming PC powerhouse that crushes both the new consoles.
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]