Facebook introduced a new tool on Tuesday that will allow users to “see and control the data that apps and websites share with Facebook,” according to a news release.
The idea for the tool, which was originally dubbed “Clear History” because it was intended to completely clear browsing data, was introduced by Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2018 after the tech giant received scrutiny for using users’ browsing history as a way to personalize advertisements on the platform.
“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,” Facebook’s chief privacy officer for policy, Erin Egan, and Facebook’s director of product management, David Baser, said in a blog post.
But the new tool called “Off-Facebook Activity” does not completely “flush” user browsing data like Zuckerberg promised last year; it simply allows users to disconnect their identities from their browsing data, The Washington Post reported.
In other words, Facebook can still collect data from a user’s browsing history but will not be able to connect history to users who partake in the new tool and specify what data from specific websites they do not want to share with the tech giant.
“Imagine a clothing website wants to show ads to people who are interested in a new style of shoes,” Facebook’s post reads. “They can send information to Facebook saying someone on a particular device looked at those shoes [online]. If that device information matches someone’s Facebook account, we can show ads about those shoes to that person.”
Egan said the tool “could have some impact on our business,” but Facebook believes that “giving people more control over their data is more important.”
Additionally, the tool will not prevent Facebook from reporting back to businesses when users purchase products after seeing targeted ads.
“Everyone might have had a different mental interpretation … because it doesn’t exist elsewhere,” Facebook product manager Stephanie Max told The Post.
The Off-Facebook Activity plan comes after the tech giant agreed to pay a settlement of $5 billion to the Federal Trade Commission for violating terms of privacy by misleading about 2.2 million users about its privacy laws.
Facebook did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
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