The new tool would severely impact on Facebook's ability to target ads and therefore it would also affect its revenue if users decide to use the tool to remove the information Facebook collects on their online activity
The much-awaited Clear History tool by Facebook will now be released in the second half of this year. The privacy function is said to be designed to let users wipe information from the social network which it collects about them from third-party apps and websites, reported the CNBC.
The announcement was made by Chief financial officer David Wehner to the audiences at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference.
The Clear History tool was earlier promised in May 2018, prior to Facebook’s F8 developer conference, and still, during that time, it was just a concept designed in a bid to earn the lost trust of the user, BuzzFeed News had said last week in a report on Clear History tool’s shaky development.
Earlier, CEO Mark Zuckerberg had described the tool as similar to the browser history tool and had also called it a step in aiding his company to restore its image post the Cambridge Analytica scandal.
Facebook had said in May 2018 that the Clear History tool would be released within a few months
Zuckerberg had said in a Facebook note, “In your web browser, you have a simple way to clear your cookies and history. The idea is 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.”
“We’re starting with something a lot of people have asked about recently: the information we see from websites and apps that use Facebook’s ads and analytics tools,” he added.
It remains to be seen how the tool would work, as Facebook collects a huge amount of information through analytics tools and trackers about what users do on the site and others. This means that if the Clear History tool becomes part of Facebook, it would severely affect the ability of the social media giant to target ads and hence would also impact on its revenue if users use the tool to remove the information Facebook collects on their online activity.
Wehner also said that in the conference on Tuesday, “Broadly, it is going to give us some headwinds in terms of being able to target as effectively as before,” he said.
While the social media giant gives its users some sort of control over how their information collected on the site is used to target ads, including the information it also gathers from third-party apps.
In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica in 2018, Facebook made some changes to how its third-party partners gain access to users’ personal information.
The Clear History tool would take one more step than the current options already in place and give users more clarity on the information which is gathered about them apart from the information sites and apps are collecting from it, and if they want to remove it entirely from the Facebook.
However, regardless of the potential impact the new tool could have on Facebook’s ad business, the social media giant is of the view that a user’s Facebook ‘experience’ could suffer from no relevant ads shown to them.
As per BuzzFeed News, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook is planning to start testing the tool in the spring of 2019. In a statement given Buzzfeed last week, the company had said, “We want to make sure this works the way it should for everyone on Facebook, which is taking longer than expected.”