Facebook unveils 'clear history' feature amid data controversy

Facebook unveils 'clear history' feature amid data controversy
© Greg Nash

Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergHillicon Valley: Russia-linked hackers hit Eastern European companies | Twitter shares data on influence campaigns | Dems blast Trump over China interference claims | Saudi crisis tests Silicon Valley | Apple to let customers download their data Public funds support proposal to remove Zuckerberg as Facebook chairman Obama responds to several excuses people give for not voting in new video MORE announced on Tuesday that Facebook will create a “clear history” option allowing users to erase data about the apps and websites they’ve interacted with while logged into Facebook.

Facebook is moving to quell concerns about data privacy following the revelations about Cambridge Analytica, a British research firm hired by the Trump campaign that improperly harvested the data of 87 million Facebook users.

“After going through our systems, this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have. It's something privacy advocates have been asking for -- and we will work with them to make sure we get it right,” Zuckerberg wrote in a post.

The new feature comes after a shake-up in the company's Washington office that saw Erin Egan step down as Facebook's head of policy to focus on her other role as the platform’s chief privacy officer.

Egan said in a post that the clear history feature is Facebook’s first effort to “supercharge” its privacy work.

Following the new update, users will also be able to view the information about the apps and websites they’ve interacted with on Facebook before making the decision to clear their information from the platform.

Facebook is still working out the final details of the feature, Egan wrote.

“It will take a few months to build Clear History. 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,” she said.   

Zuckerberg acknowledged in his announcement of the new feature that he “didn't have clear enough answers” to many questions from lawmakers during his recent congressional testimony.

We're working to make sure these controls are clear, and we will have more to come soon,” he said.