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At the moment, our member site has its own email preferences area. These preferences are fed into Marketing Cloud data extensions and are used when segmenting for email sends. We use the global Marketing Cloud unsubscribe to manage unsubscribes. The issue we have is that we're not syncing the unsubscribe status back to the member preferences.

I can see it would be possible to run extracts and imports etc, but this isn't really acceptable when real-time integration is required.

Can SSJS be used to call an external API when someone unsubscribes, or will a data extension log be needed that is referenced by the SSJS in an automation?

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In SFMC there is a Data View that contains all the Unsubcribed records. This is the _Unsubscribe data view.

You can use a report that extract this information or use a custom report if You want something different from the out of the box functionality.

If someone unsubscribed in Marketing Cloud, then will be there.

Regarded the second part, as best practice, apart of an automation not sure if You can do something else. Probably create a ticket with support to double check if there's something better.

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