Facebook will launch long-awaited clear history feature this year, and it could hurt ad targeting


Facebook CFO David Wehner on Tuesday said Facebook will launch its clear history feature later this year.

First announced by Facebook in early 2018, the feature will allow users to see information about apps and web sites they’ve interacted with and delete this information from their Facebook accounts. Wehner said the feature will make it harder for Facebook to use data collected by third parties to target ads to users.

“Broadly, [clear history is] going to give us some headwinds in terms of being able to target as effectively as before,” Wehner said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference 2019 in San Francisco.

Facebook first announced this feature at its F8 conference in May 2018. At the time, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the feature would “be a simple control to clear your browsing history on Facebook — what you’ve clicked on, websites you’ve visited, and so on.”

“Once we roll out this update, you’ll be able to see information about the apps and websites you’ve interacted with, and you’ll be able to clear this information from your account,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post at the time. “You’ll even be able to turn off having this information stored with your account.”

Clear history was proposed by Zuckerberg to his team just before a rehearsal for the company’s 2018 conference in reaction to the company’s Cambridge Analytica scandal last March, according to a BuzzFeed report on Friday. The product was announced to the world when it just an idea, the report said.

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