Facebook Set to Soon Launch This Privacy Feature They Announced Last Year


FacebookFacebook is set to soon launch a privacy feature that will let people delete data important for targeting ads. It was announced last year. Early this week, Facebook announced the long-expected “clear history” feature that will begin rolling out in the coming months.

The clear history feature will let users delete data that the giant social media company collects from websites and apps outside of Facebook and will stop using said data for advertising.

“When someone disconnects their off-Facebook activity, we won’t use the data they clear for targeting. This means that targeting options powered by Facebook’s business tools … can’t be used to reach someone with ads,” Facebook said early this week.

What this really means is that it isn’t technically deleted but that Facebook won’t use it in this identifiable way anymore and that’s why its aptly called clear history and not delete history since only the browsing data is de-linked from your Facebook account and that Facebook will still store it.

If clear history goes live, some of Facebook’s marketing technology will be snapped out of existence including Pixel and Custom Audiences. Pixel is a favorite among brands since it is computer code that tags a user when they visit the said brand’s website and then hit them with an ad when they’re back on the social network.

If data on the pixel is deleted, it becomes inaccessible unless they visit the brand’s website again.

A lot of companies this year have come under intense scrutiny with Facebook and Google having to come up and implement new privacy measures. Google now lets users clear cookies, limit cookie-based tracking and add support for blocking certain type of user fingerprinting on its Chrome web browser among other commitments they announced at Google I/O 2019. Facebook on the other made the shift to privacy with the their “the future is private” mantra announced at this year’s F8 conference. Another privacy features they’re bringing back include the  “view as public” and “edit public details” button directly to profiles which had been scrapped off after last years data breach. Facebook also announced a series of product updates that emphasized their goals of increased security.

This orientation to user privacy by giant tech companies will have the entire digital advertising industry going back to the drawing board and rethink its history of collecting information on user’s browsing habits for the motive of serving them highly targeted advertisements.

Facebook is already in talks with brands on what they should expect when this feature goes public. “We have ve had conversations along the way with businesses, agencies and industry bodies to get a sense of things advertisers will want to know in preparation,” Facebook said in a statement.

Brands will be forced to look into other channels to post their ads and generally, companies will need to prepare themselves for a right to be forgotten world.

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George Kamau
I brunch on consumer tech | first.last at techweez dot com


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