Last week, Facebook announced that it would begin rolling out its long-promised “Clear History” tool that allows users to see how the company is tracking them across the Internet. However, many journalists and privacy advocates have already slammed the feature for doing little to actually help or protect users.
In a column for Fortune magazine, writers Jeff John Roberts and Aaron Pressman explored how little users can actually change the way Facebook handles their data. They also pointed out that the tool is buried deep in Facebook’s settings, and that it makes users jump through several hoops in order to use it.
“While Facebook deserves credit for finally disclosing such data, the company won’t let you do much about it,” the two journalists wrote. “In that sense, the ‘clear history’ button is basically a farce. Facebook is still gobbling up your data. All the button does is instruct Facebook not to blend that third-party data with its own collected data when it offers you up to advertisers.”
In other words, the purported “Clear History” tool doesn’t actually clear much at all. And while it’s a net positive for Facebook users to be aware of how the company is collecting their data, it’s basically impossible to stop it from happening.
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