Recently it was announced that Facebook users would soon be getting the option to opt out of the website’s ability to collect their browsing information. This comes after Mark Zuckerberg received backlash for the amount of data that was being collected. This includes from browsers who didn’t even use the Facebook service.
One of the data sets that drew the most attention was their collection of browsing history. Someone’s browser history includes information about the apps and websites that were recently visited, not just Facebook activity. This information was then being sent to developers that used their plugins.
This information’s main use was to target advertisements to users based on their internet activity. An example would be showing an advertisement for an item that a user had viewed previously but not purchased. While there were rumors and jokes about Facebook spying on their user’s internet activity, it turns out that they were not that far from the truth. Fortunately for users, soon they will be able to make sure that their internet history stays private from Facebook and their advertisers.
The feature that is currently being developed is being called “clear history”. It will have a few options to meet the security desires of the users. Not only will Facebook users be able to prevent Facebook from collecting any further browsing history and data, they will be able to have the information that was already collected on their servers removed. While it may still remain on the server, it will be in an aggregated collection that is completely anonymous and unable to be connected to an individual account. Unfortunately for non-users of the site and app, they cannot choose to opt-out of this anonymous collection. If they choose not to have Facebook collect their data, their easiest option is to not visit the website.
In recent weeks, Facebook has made many important changes in how they deal with data collection and the privacy of their users. Many users expressed their dismay with Facebook after it was discovered that they were sharing this data with Cambridge Analytica.