Facebook to Introduce ‘Clear History’ Privacy Tool
As Facebook’s annual F8 developer conference is underway, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced the company’s plans to implement a new feature called Clear History before taking the stage. This new tool is one of many introduced at the conference, but it stands out among the bunch for ramping up privacy and security tools for users after the it was found out that over 80 million America’s had their data leaked in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Zuckerberg wrote “In your web browser, you have a simple way to clear your cookies and history. The idea is a lot of sites need cookies to work, but you should still be able to flush your history whenever you want. “We’re building a version of this for Facebook too. It will be a simple control to clear your browsing history on Facebook — what you’ve clicked on, websites you’ve visited, and so on.”
Clear History will allow Facebook users to be able to see information about any and all apps and websites you’re profile has interacted with. This information will be easily pulled into a clear and concise format, preventing unauthorized apps from getting your private data from your profile. There will also be an option to purge all of this data from your profile, and make it so none of it is stored on it going forwards.
Despite this, Facebook still firmly believes that storing and analyzing user data is imperative to the user experience. Zuckerberg says “To be clear, when you clear your cookies in your browser, it can make parts of your experience worse. You may have to sign back in to every website, and you may have to reconfigure things. The same will be true here.” He goes on to say “your Facebook won’t be as good while it relearns your preferences.”
While this may seem like a welcome addition to Facebook users who have become concerned for their privacy while using the social network, Facebook claims that Clear History will take several months to build and release. In a blog post penned by Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, he says they will “work with privacy advocates, academics, policymakers and regulators to get their input on our approach, including how we plan to remove identifying information and the rare cases where we need information for security purposes.”
In the aftermath of Zuckerberg testifying before Congress, he said one thing he learned is “that I didn’t have clear enough answers to some of the questions about data. We’re working to make sure these controls are clear, and we will have more to come soon.” In the coming months, it is clear that Facebook’s priority is rebuilding the trust lost from it’s users, especially considering the #deletefacebook campaign went viral on social media, with many quitting the site altogether.