Mark Zuckerberg unveils new Facebook privacy control

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Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO unveiled the company’s new privacy control, though still on initial stages of creation

The control dubbed “Clear History” will allow users to clear their browsing history on Facebook.

A statement from Zuckerberg’s Facebook post on his talking points at the company’s F8 conference, “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,” he said.

Facebook has been on the news lately with key focus on the story of Cambridge Analytica (CA) and how it harvested information from 50 million US Facebook profiles — mostly without consent.

“The past several weeks have made clear that people want more information about how Facebook works and the controls they have over their information.  At F8 we’re sharing some of the first steps we’re taking to better protect people’s privacy,” said Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook.

Clear History will enable users to see the websites and apps that send Facebook information when they use them, delete this information from their account, and turn off Facebook’s ability to store it associated with your account going forward.

“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. 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,” added Mark.

“We’re starting with a feature that addresses feedback we’ve heard consistently from people who use Facebook, privacy advocates and regulators: everyone should have more information and control over the data Facebook receives from other websites and apps that use our services,” reaffirmed Erin.

Other than your history,  Facebook is helping you clear out or delete cookies which are files created by websites you visit. They make your online experience easier by saving browsing information. With cookies, sites can keep you signed in, remember your site preferences, and give you locally relevant content.

“To be clear, when you clear your cookies in your browser, it can make parts of your experience worse. You may have to sign back in to every website, and you may have to reconfigure things. The same will be true here. Your Facebook won’t be as good while it relearns your preferences,” Mark interjected.

Even-though the company will allow you the choice of clearing your history and cookies apparently Facebook will still be able to provide apps and websites with aggregated analytics, “for example, we can build reports when we’re sending this information so we can tell developers if their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group. We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are,” said Erin.

Mark concluded his post stating that from his testifying experience with Congress he learnt that as a CEO he did not have clear enough answers to some of the questions about data. “We’re working to make sure these controls are clear, and we will have more to come soon.”

Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer promised, “ 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.”

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