Following the Cambridge Analytica data breach scandal last spring, Facebook made a host of promises to improve its privacy controls for users. One of those promised features was “Clear History” — the ability for users to wipe the information that Facebook has collected about them from third-party apps and websites. However, right when many experts were beginning to express skepticism the feature would ever be released, Facebook revealed this week that Clear History will roll out later this year.
The company disclosed this incoming tool at a technology conference, where Facebook CFO David Wehner admitted that the feature will “give us some headwinds in terms of being able to target as effectively as before.” In other words, Clear History will hurt Facebook’s ad business. Facebook has previously admitted it has difficulty educating users about the data they sacrifice while using Facebook, so the tool makes sense for improving privacy — though it’s shocking to see the company actually make sacrifices to its own business.
“We have to do our part — and I think you are starting to see a lot of initiatives [to] really provide much better tools and consumer education,” Facebook’s head of advertising, Carolyn Evers, told Adweek last year. “But I think we collectively have a long way to go.”
This is the rare move from Facebook that genuinely helps users protect themselves while hurting its bottom line. Let’s hope there are many more like it in the future.
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