artk
Tue, Sep 17, 2019 6:17 PM
Thu, Aug 22, 2019 2:02

Facebook finally rolls out 'Clear History' tool

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More than a year after Mark Zuckerberg tried to defuse a privacy uproar by teasing a new tool to help users "clear" their history on the platform, it's finally rolling out -- but some may be disappointed by the limitations of the feature.

More than a year after Mark Zuckerberg tried to defuse a privacy uproar by teasing a new tool to help users "clear" their history on the platform, it's finally rolling out -- but some may be disappointed by the limitations of the feature.

The company said Tuesday that it's finally introducing a tool to help users see and manage the data that apps and websites collect on them and share with Facebook. But users won't be able to delete this data entirely.

Instead, the user will simply have the option to disassociate the information from his or her account. As a result, Facebook won't know which websites the user visited or what the user did there, but the data will still exist on Facebook's servers without identifying information.

Facebook (FB) first announced plans for a feature called "Clear History" in May, 2018, as it confronted mounting privacy concerns in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which a political research firm improperly harvested the data of millions of users. The company initially said it would take "a few months" to build this tool, but it was long delayed until now.

Facebook previously told reporters the feature was taking longer than expected to develop as it worked to re-engineer its systems and re-think how it processed user data.

Even now, the feature is not quite ready to roll out to all users. To start, the Off-Facebook Activity feature, as it's called, will be available to users in Ireland, South Korea and Spain, and roll out worldwide over the "coming months."

Facebook said it's a common practice for businesses to share data about people's activity on their websites with ad platforms and other services. But the company said this is "not always well understood."