FACEBOOK'S CLEAR HISTORY tool is finally rolling out after being announced some 18 months ago, and will start enabling users to unhook their web browsing history from their account on the social network.
The rollout has started in Ireland, Spain and South Korea, with other nations to follow in the "coming months".
The tool will sit in the "Off-Facebook Activity" area of the social network and will enable users to not only de-link their Facebook account from tracked web activity, but also to opt-out of all of Facebook's tracking full stop, to view browsing history and to block select sites and apps from sucking up data and sending it back to the social network.
"If you clear your off-Facebook activity, we'll remove your identifying information from the data that apps and websites choose to send us," Facebook explained.
"We won't know which websites you visited or what you did there, and we won't use any of the data you disconnect to target ads to you on Facebook, Instagram or Messenger. We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important."
But here's the kicker: Facebook won't actually purge the data it's been sent from websites and app. Rather, the Clear History function will simply mean the data Facebook has won't be associated with a user's account, effectively making it anonymous data.
And the flip side to de-linking your account from the tracked data means you're going to see adverts served up by sites that aren't relevant to you.
"For example, a website you didn't visit could show up because a friend looked it up on your phone. Or because you share a home computer with your partner and kids," said Facebook's privacy folks.
But at least that'll give you a clear indicator that Facebook isn't sucking up your web browsing data.
The whole move seems to be part of Facebook's attempts to navigate the privacy woes around it coughed up by the likes of the Cambridge Analytica data scandal and other privacy borking issues.
But whether Facebook can really become a privacy-focused platform in the way Mark Zuckerberg has touted in the past, remains to be seen. µ
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