By Eric Lieberman
Facebook is introducing a new feature that will allow users to see which websites and apps are tracking them throughout the internet, the company announced Tuesday.
The tech giant is also offering people the opportunity to delete certain collected data and to disallow similar info gathering — all options part of its “Clear History” program.
“The past several weeks have made clear that people want more information about how Facebook works and the controls they have over their information,” Erin Egan, vice president and chief privacy officer, wrote on a company blog post, referencing public backlash stemming from alleged carelessness from Facebook over how users’ data is utilized and even exploited. “If you clear your history or use the new setting, we’ll remove identifying information so a history of the websites and apps you’ve used won’t be associated with your account.”
Facebook will still be providing apps and websites with “aggregated analytics (collections of data),” which they argue is important for making both advertisers’ content and people’s “experience on Facebook” better, Egan said.
The new feature is yet another attempt from Facebook to by ostensibly empowering users with more control over their digital footprint. The tech giant has been dragged through the mud in recent months for an apparent sloppiness over how its platform is used — even manipulated — and what is ultimately done with users’ online traits and tendencies. Founder Mark Zuckerberg felt compelled to testify before Congress to try to explain recent happenings, revelations and his company’s conduct — or lack thereof.
Along with the aforementioned feature, Facebook has tried to be more transparent, publishing its censorship rules so people could better understand how and when it removes certain content it deems unseemly and unacceptable.
“It will take a few months to build Clear History,” Egan concluded. “We’ll work with privacy advocates, academics, policymakers and regulators to get their input on our approach, including how we plan to remove identifying information and the rare cases where we need information for security purposes.”
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