Photo: Thomas Trutschel/Photothek via Getty Images

Facebook on Tuesday introduced a new setting to let users view and control data from apps and websites that send Facebook information about user activity away from the app. Facebook is also giving users the ability to clear this information from their account if they choose to, something the company said it was working on doing last year.

Why it matters: The new tool is supposed to give users more control over how their data is shared, in light of revelations through news stories — primarily the Cambridge Analytica scandal — that other companies can access and share user data with Facebook.

Details: The new tool, called "Off-Facebook Activity" will roll out first internationally and then in the U.S. in coming months. It will allow users to not only erase their histories if they choose to, but also to disconnect future off-Facebook activity from their accounts moving forward.

  • If users clear their off-Facebook activity, Facebook says it will remove their identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send the company. It also says it won't use any of the data to target ads to users on other Facebook-owned properties, like Instagram or Facebook Messenger.
Photo of what the new feature will look like via Facebook

By the numbers: Facebook says that the average person with a smartphone has more than 80 apps and uses about 40 of them every month, which makes it difficult for people to keep track of who has their information and what they're using it for.

Be smart: The move will undoubtedly impact Facebook's business, as the company makes most of its money off of data-based advertising targeting. But the company says "it believe(s) giving people control over their data is more important."

  • Yes, but: While the move gives users more control over how their data away from Facebook is shared and used, users still cannot control how Facebook uses its browsing data while they are using Facebook, Instagram and Messenger.

The big picture: The rollout comes at a time when Facebook is under immense regulatory scrutiny. State attorneys general are reportedly preparing an antitrust probe into Big Tech companies, following a similar announcement from the Justice Department last month. Facebook said on its last earnings call that the Federal Trade Commission is also looking into its dominance.

The bottom line: The move is a positive step toward giving users more control over their data, but that doesn't mean the company is immune from future data privacy hiccups or scandals.

Go deeper

CDC: 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like cases found on cruise ships in U.S.

Cruise Ships docked in April at the port at Marina Long Beach due to a no-sail order in Long Beach, in California. Photo: Apu Gomes/AFP via Getty Images

There have been at least 3,689 COVID-19 or coronavirus-like illness cases on cruise ships in U.S. waters, "in addition to at least 41 reported deaths," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Wednesday.

Driving the news: The CDC released the data from the period of March 1 through Sept. 29 in an emailed statement confirming the extension of a No Sail Order for cruise ships through Oct. 31, as first reported by Axios' Jonathan Swan on Tuesday in his article revealing CDC director Robert Redfield was overruled in a push to extend the order into 2021.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9:30 p.m. ET: 33,867,247 — Total deaths: 1,012,341 — Total recoveries: 23,537,059Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 8 p.m. ET: 7,229,319 — Total deaths: 206,887 — Total recoveries: 2,840,688 — Total tests: 103,939,667Map.
  3. Education: School-aged children now make up 10% of all U.S COVID-19 cases.
  4. Health: The coronavirus' alarming impact on the body.
  5. Business: Real-time data show economy's rebound slowing but still going.
  6. Sports: Steelers-Titans NFL game delayed after coronavirus outbreak.
Ina Fried, author of Login
3 hours ago - Technology

Facebook removes Trump ads tying refugees to COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Facebook said Wednesday that it was removing a series of ads from President Trump's campaign that linked American acceptance of refugees with increased coronavirus risk, a connection Facebook says is without merit.

Why it matters: The ads were pulled after they received thousands of impressions and are a sign that the Trump campaign continues to test the limits of social media rules on false information.