NEW YORK (NBC) — In a major policy change, Facebook said on Tuesday that it will soon allow users to flush their personal browsing histories on the platform — what they click on, which websites they visit — and opt out of the internet-wide data collection the social media giant uses to sell targeted ads.
The announcement comes amid a furor over revelations that the data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica inappropriately acquired the private data of tens of millions of Facebook users, a scandal that forced Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg to testify before Congress last month.
“One thing I learned from my experience testifying in Congress is that I didn’t have clear enough answers to some of the questions about data,” Zuckerberg said in a Facebook post announcing the policy change.
“We’re working to make sure these controls are clear, and we will have more to come soon.”
The new privacy features would allow users to avoid some of the platform’s ability to track people on websites across the internet — including data from its “Like” button and its “Pixel” program.
Zuckerberg said the new privacy control would be called Clear History, the common name for the web browser function that lets users wipe clean their cookies and browsing records.
The company on Tuesday also kicked off its annual F8 developer conference in San Jose, California, where Zuckerberg is expected to deliver the keynote address.
In a separate blog post on Tuesday, just as the conference was getting underway, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan, said it would take months to build the Clear History feature.