In the past few weeks, Facebook has been dealing with a lot of public backlash regarding its stance on data and user privacy and what it is doing to rectify its mistakes. During its annual Facebook Developer Conference this year, Facebook announced that it would be developing a new feature that will enable a user to clear their history on Facebook.
This is a much-needed and important move because it gives the users the ability to protect their data visibility and control how their data will (or will not) be used. In an official company blog post by Facebook’s VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, she said:
“Today, we’re announcing plans to build Clear History. This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward. Apps and websites that use features such as the Like button or Facebook Analytics send us information to make their content and ads better. We also use this information to make your experience on Facebook better.”
After the Cambridge Analytica scandal, many users tried to unsuccessfully delete the social media platform from their life. However, it’s not that easy because Facebook is able to record the data of non-users when they access websites that use Facebook’s data-tracking tools. While this new feature can’t entirely stop these operations, it will give users a way to remove their search history from Facebook’s servers. In this way, there’ll be no connection between your personal account and any other data.
The blog post goes on to explain that Facebook can still provide analytics to developers and apps but will do so without storing a user’s information and without sharing a user’s information with an advertiser.
According to the blog post, the feature is still under development:
“It will take a few months to build Clear History. We’ll 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.”
The Clear History feature is a welcome move and by putting its users first and giving them control over their data, the Social Network is heading in a more appropriate direction.