Facebook Launches Its ‘Clear History’ Tool

Today, Facebook Finally launched its clear History tool, Off-Facebook Activity. It’s a piece of great news for the general users but not for businesses who rely on Facebook advertising and targeting the specific audience.

As stated by Facebook:

“Today we’re introducing a new way to view and control your off-Facebook activity. Off-Facebook Activity lets you see a summary of the apps and websites that send us information about your activity, and clear this information from your account if you want to. This is another way to give people more transparency and control on Facebook, along with recent updates to our Ad Library, updates to “Why am I seeing this ad?” and the launch of a new feature called “Why am I seeing this post?””

Facebook initially promised the option last May, at its 2018 F8 conference – in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, users have been calling for more insight into how their personal data is being utilized and what, specifically, Facebook is tracking. Facebook pledged to deliver an option to cover this, which would also enable people to delete third-party tracking entirely if they so desired.

“Building Off-Facebook Activity required an extensive redesign of the way our systems store and process this activity and new methods for disconnecting information about a person’s off-site activity from their account. Since we do not store off-site activity in one centralized profile, we also had to bring together a variety of data sources and develop new methods for managing different types of information across our infrastructure.”

That’s why the tool has taken so long to deliver (Facebook breaks down the specifics here), but now, the new option is being launched, with users in Ireland, South Korea, and Spain getting first access to the functionality, ahead of an expanded push.

However, it’s important to note that the feature doesn’t actually allow users to delete their browsing information; instead, it simply lets users dissociate collected data from their Facebook account. In the background on its Database structure, Facebook now assigns a unique SID to each online activity that an app or website shares with it and then associates those SIDs with your profile referring as a unique UID.

When a person clicks the button to disconnect his or her off-site activity, we remove the mapping between the UID and SID, which breaks the joining of rows in the data warehouse tables to the user account.

Follow Manpreet Singh on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

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