Facebook Creating ‘Clear History’ Privacy Setting

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Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced an upcoming feature for the popular social media platform on Tuesday, as users will soon be able to clear their browsing history on the platform, much like they can clear cookies and history from their browser.

Zuckerberg made the announcement Tuesday morning in a Facebook post that explained how the “Clear History” privacy setting works, and what’s in it for the platform’s billions of users. He described the new feature as a “simple control” that will allow users to remove all browsing history on Facebook, including, but not limited to previously accessed apps and websites that make use of Facebook’s ads and analytics tools. This feature, Zuckerberg stressed, is based on the idea that websites generally need cookies to work, with users having the option to delete their viewing history anytime they please.

While users will be able to view all apps and websites they previously interacted with and delete them from their history, and also opt that such details not be cataloged in their accounts, Facebook’s Clear History will also come with a caveat. According to Zuckerberg, using the feature could “make parts of your experience worse,” much like what happens after you delete cookies from your web browser. That could mean reentering usernames and passwords as Facebook relearns user settings and preferences.

Despite that inconvenience, Zuckerberg posited that the upcoming introduction of the new privacy control is in line with the demands of privacy advocates and consumers alike.

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

Although many users commented that they are looking forward to the introduction of Clear History, it appears that most focused mainly on the final paragraph of Zuckerberg’s statement, where he said that he “didn’t have clear enough answers” when he testified before Congress last month following the Cambridge Analytica controversy. One commenter, for instance, said that America’s lawmakers “don’t have a clue” about modern technology and that Zuckerberg did well in making his points easier to understand.

Another user was far more critical, saying that Clear History represents the Facebook head’s “slap on the wrist” following his testimony and that he feels it doesn’t change anything as far as Facebook allegedly keeping a trove of private user information is concerned.

Facebook’s Clear History feature will be discussed in further detail at the F8 developer expo, which takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, California.