Following the recent grilling of Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, by the congress over unauthorized data usage and breach of data privacy, the tech boss spoke about a new upcoming feature at the Facebook F8 annual developer's conference.
The Facebook F8, which has its name "F8" derived from Facebook's tradition of 8 hour hackathons, is an annual conference held by Facebook for developers and entrepreneurs to be able to showcase their product and services and also latest technology built around the website.
While Zuckerberg must have found the attention centered on him at the annual developer's conference in San Jose more suiting, the reverse must have been the case on the 10th of April in D.C, where the apologetic tech giant boss explained and defended Facebook amid controversies that arose as a result of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
The new feature to be launched by Facebook is called the "Clear History" button. This button will vest power in the hands of the user and give every user the control over data collected while surfing through website and above all erase all of the information from Facebook.
While unveiling the new feature, Mark Zuckerberg said “You’re going to be able to use this tool to see the information about the apps and websites you’ve interacted with. You’ll be able to clear all this information from your account. You’ll even be able to turn it off,”
Prior to the presentation, Zuckerberg said on a post, “After going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have. It's something privacy advocates have been asking for.”
The Facebook's Clear History feature is similar to the Clear history action on the browser which gives user the ability to clear cookies and other data saved while surfing the internet. The Facebook Clear History feature which follows the same logic as the browser was further explained by Mark Zuckerberg and he said, “When you clear your cookies in a browser,” he said, “you may have to sign back into dozens of websites.” It can be a pain, he implied: “The same is going to be true here. Your Facebook won’t be quite as good as it relearns your preferences. But after going through our systems, this is the kind of control we think people should have.”
Zuckerberg further added, "Once we roll out this update, you'll be able to see information about the apps and websites you've interacted with, and you'll be able to clear this information from your account." He also made known the implication of using the Clear History button as saying "Your Facebook won't be as good while it relearns your preferences."
While sitting before the lawmakers in D.C, Zuckerberg had defended the company's collection of user information. The tech boss told the lawmakers about the importance for Facebook to collect user information in order to create a better user experience on the website. He further suggested that the lesser the information known about a user, the more likely for a bad experience for a user on Facebook.
According to Zuckerberg, the Clear History button is geared towards giving every user more option in creating a balance with respect to personalization and data privacy. Furthermore, it is part of the company's plan to redefine some processes, gain the trust of users and make Facebook users feel safe on the website.
The Clear History button is expected to be launched soon and it will be made available to every Facebook user account and can be accessed by simply navigating to your "Settings", click on "Activity Log" and on that view you will get a prompt enabling you to clear your history data.
It is no longer news that Facebook has been grappling with the consequences of the Cambridge Analytica scandal which led to the crash of the company's stocks and several investors dumping Facebook shares. The fallout has also stirred up a #DeleteFacebook campaign by many calling for the deletion of Facebook.
Without an iota of doubt, lots of people are still very skeptical about Facebook despite all the defense and justification by Zuckerberg before the Congress and the intended release of the Clear History button might just not be enough to pacify angry users who consider the improper access and harvesting of 87 million user's information by the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica an absolute breach of trust. Yet, privacy-centric features like the "Clear History" is something the public yearn for while surfing on social networking platform that rely heavily on user data collections.
How beneficial would this new Facebook tool be to users in keeping their personal data and privacy intact?
I would be glad to have you share your thoughts on this.