Facebook plans to release its long-awaited “clear history” feature later this year following months of speculation and delays.
The new feature was first announced amid last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal and will allow users to delete any data on websites and ads that have been clicked on while logged into the social media platform.
At the time of the announcement, CEO Mark Zuckerberg explained that the tool would work in a similar fashion to conventional browser history methods.
“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,” he wrote in a blog post. “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.”
According to Buzzfeed News, Facebook will begin testing the new feature at some point during spring. Last week, the firm issued a statement to the publication which read: “We want to make sure this works the way it should for everyone on Facebook, which is taking longer than expected.”
Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, said that while changes are inbound, the company will still provide websites and apps with aggregated analytics.
“For example, we can build reports when we’re sent this information so we can tell developers if their apps are more popular with men or women in a certain age group,” he explained. “We can do this without storing the information in a way that’s associated with your account, and as always, we don’t tell advertisers who you are.”
The company’s attempts to implement a clear history function may impact its ability to generate revenue through targeted ads, however.
Currently, the social network collects vast amounts of data on what users do on the platform itself, as well as browsing habits outside – any changes to its policies may inhibit the firm’s ability to track and monitor users as effectively.
David Wehner, Facebook’s chief financial officer, said the tool is “going to give us some headwinds in terms of being able to target as effectively as before,”
Previously, Wehner has warned that ongoing privacy scandals and a growing awareness of privacy issues could damage the firm’s ability to generate ad revenue.