Facebook ‘Clear History’ Tool Coming In 2019
After a long wait, Facebook is finally set to introduce the ‘Clear History’ feature that will allow users to clear their browsing history collected by Facebook from third-party websites and apps.
“Broadly, (clear history is) going to give us some headwinds in terms of being able to target as effectively as before,” said David Wehner, Facebook’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference held in Barcelona on Tuesday while announcing the feature, reports CNBC.
For those unaware, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had first publicly announced the “Clear History” feature in May 2018 as a mere idea after the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Back then, Zuckerberg had posted a note on his personal Facebook page about the feature, which read, “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. We’re starting with something a lot of people have asked about recently: the information we see from websites and apps that use Facebook’s ads and analytics tools.”
While the announcement of the ‘Clear History’ feature is certainly good news for users and privacy advocates, but not for the advertisers. This feature will affect Facebook’s ability to target advertisements and in turn revenue generation, as the company collects information based on the user’s location and preference history, said Wehner.
Also, the feature is likely going to affect Facebook “experience” of the users, as relevant ads according to their preference may not be shown to them. However, with the introduction of the ‘Clear History’ feature, the company is looking to counter privacy-related controversies and gain back users trust.
“After going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have,” Zuckerberg wrote in his announcement post on Clear History. “It’s something privacy advocates have been asking for — and we will work with them to make sure we get it right.”
Facebook plans to begin testing the tool somewhere this spring, according to BuzzFeed News. “We want to make sure this works the way it should for everyone on Facebook, which is taking longer than expected,” the company had said in a statement given to the publication last week.