Mark Zuckerberg Reveals That Facebook Is Building a ‘Clear History’ Feature

At launch, it will scrub information about apps, websites interacted with via the social network

Clear History will be 'a simple control to clear your browsing history on Facebook' wildpixel/iStock

Facebook’s latest olive branch to rekindle some goodwill on the privacy front is modeled after a feature found in web browsers.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post Tuesday that he would introduce the social network’s new Clear History feature at its F8 annual developer conference in San Jose, Calif.

He wrote, “In your web browser, you have a simple way to clear your cookies and history. The idea is that 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.”

Clear History is still being developed, but Zuckerberg said that when it does roll out, it will start by providing users with information about the applications and websites they’ve interacted with via Facebook and enabling them to clear that information, as well as to prevent it from being stored with their accounts.

He said the feature is “something privacy advocates have been asking for” and “an example of the kind of control we think you should have,” but warned that, much like when users clear cookies from their web browsers, people who take advantage of Clear History will have to sign back into websites and “may have to reconfigure things,” adding, “Your Facebook won’t be as good while it relearns your preferences.”

Dan Goldstein, president and owner of full-service digital marketing agency Page 1 Solutions, felt that this was a good move by the social network, saying, “Facebook is getting the message that privacy and transparency are important to Facebook users and Internet users in general. Giving users the ability to identify and manage which sites are tracking information about them shows that Facebook is actively taking positive steps to protect user privacy. Time will tell, but this may help Facebook overcome the shadow of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.”

Zuckerberg expressed similar hopes, wrapping up his post with, “One thing I learned from my experience testifying in Congress is that I didn’t 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.” David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.