Long accused of doing little or nothing to protect user privacy, Silicon Valley tech giant Facebook is now in the process of launching a new privacy feature called "Clear History" that will enable users to decide which information they are sharing with third-party advertisers. Right now, the Facebook privacy tool has only launched in three countries – Ireland, South Korea and Spain – but plans are eventually to make this a worldwide feature available to all 2.4 billion Facebook social network users. In order to access the Clear History Facebook privacy tool, users will need to navigate to the section of settings called "Off-Facebook Activity." Once there, users will just need to tap "Clear History," and they can begin to check off which apps and websites will be allowed to track their personal information and browsing data. In one easy destination, users will see a full list of who's tracking them, and which apps and websites are sending user data reports back to Facebook for targeting purposes.
Facebook deserves a lot of the flack it gets, be it for providing Russian propaganda with a platform or gradually eroding privacy norms. Still, it has some genuine usefulness. And while the single best way to keep your privacy safe on Facebook is to delete your account, taking these simple steps in the settings is the next best thing.
There is a precedent for more stringent privacy legislation. In 2016, the European Parliament adopted the General Data Protection Regulation ― a set of data privacy rules set to go into effect on May 25. The regulations include limiting the types of data companies can collect from EU citizens and how they can use it, requiring parental consent for anyone under 16 who wants to use certain online services and giving people enhanced rights over their personal information.