Mark Zuckerberg announces ‘Clear History’ privacy tool ahead of Facebook’s F8 conference


By Chris Ciaccia –

Under intense fire and criticism from lawmakers, the media and its users for how it has handled the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Facebook and its CEO Mark Zuckerberg are letting users start from zero.

Ahead of the company’s F8 developer conference, Zuckerberg announced a new “Clear History” feature built into Facebook.

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote. “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.”

He continued that this is something “a lot of people have asked about recently,” the ability to see information that is being used by Facebook, its analytic tools and its advertising partners.

“Once we roll out this update, you’ll be able to see information about the apps and websites you’ve interacted with, and you’ll be able to clear this information from your account,” he added. “You’ll even be able to turn off having this information stored with your account.”

Zuckerberg, who was recently grilled on Capitol Hill about everything from data privacy, whether the company collects data on non-users (it does) and his old sexist website FaceMash, cautioned that by clearing your Facebook history , the feature will not be as effective until it relearns a user’s preferences.

“But after going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have,” Zuckerberg wrote. “It’s something privacy advocates have been asking for — and we will work with them to make sure we get it right.”

Trust in the social networking platform dipped sharply after the alleged data breach that saw 87 million users get their accounts improperly accessed. User trust was also impacted by Zuckerberg’s testimony. For its part, Cambridge Analytica maintains it did nothing wrong, though it has since replaced its CEO Alexander Nix.

A survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute, a U.S.-based think tank, found that just 27 percent of 3,000 respondents believe Facebook will protect their privacy and user data, down from 79 percent in 2017. The survey’s results were first reported by The Financial Times.

That has not yet impacted the company’s business, however.

Last week, Facebook announced first-quarter results that easily surpassed Wall Street’s expectations.

The embattled social media giant reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.69, well above Wall Street expectations of $1.35 a share. Revenue reached $11.97 billion, topping a projected $11.41 billion.

Facebook also said it would increase share buybacks by $9 billion.

Fox Business’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia



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