Adding further fuel to the fire of burgeoning privacy controversy at Facebook, the social network has announced that it is delaying support for users to clear their account history on the site to spring of 2019 (and that's only for public testing, not a full launch).
Originally announced back at Facebook's F8 2018 conference back at the beginning of May 2018, the ability for users to clear out their personal history was said to be in response to a desire for more information about how they can control their information. Originally slated to "take a few months to build Clear History," the feature has been officially delayed into the spring 2019 release window (which ranges from March 20, 2019 to June 21, 2019) as announced by David Baser, director of privacy products at Facebook, in an interview with Recode.
In the interview, Baser says that two major technical challenges are the reason implementing Clear History is taking "longer than [Facebook] initially had thought." These two challenges are:
- Facebook does not store data in the same way that it collects it, with data sets often being comprised of multiple separate parts containing different individual statistics, such as timestamps in one and personally identifiable information in another.
- Facebook does not thread browsing information by user, but instead by date and time, meaning that Facebook cannot easily parse all browsing information in relation to each individual user.
Facebook has been working on overcoming these major challenges, and allowing users to test out the feature within that spring 2019 window. It should be noted that, due to how Facebook's technical and business infrastructures are comprised, Clear History won't delete the data collected by Facebook. Instead, it will completely remove the ties that data has to the user it was originally collected from.