Here’s how Facebook’s new ‘Clear History’ tool could either hurt or help ad targeting

, Internet, Modernización de Empresas, Tarjetas y Pagos Electrónicos, Tecnología Personal, Telecomunicaciones

Facebook announced it has finished building a tool that will give users more control over some of the data that powers the platform’s targeted ads, per a company blog post. The tool — called «Clear History,» and initially announced by CEO Mark Zuckerberg at the 2018 F8 conference — will appear in a new section called «Off-Facebook Activity.»Facebook's Six Privacy PillarsBusiness Insider Intelligence
The Clear History tool will show users which apps and sites are reporting their personal browsing information back to Facebook, and then allow them to disconnect it. The tool will roll out first in Ireland, Spain, and South Korea, followed by additional countries in «coming months.»
The Clear History tool is Facebook’s attempt to follow through on the privacy and transparency desires of its users. Internet users overall overwhelmingly say they don’t feel they’re in control of their personal data used by mobile apps and services: Just 13% of feel in control and that they’re able to make a conscious choice about how their data is used, per the Mobile Ecosystem Forum.
The tool not only gives users greater visibility into how their data is being used, but also the ability to act on that information. That could help Facebook users feel more secure about their privacy on the platform, a boost it could use after a spate of high-magnitude data breaches over the last few years. But that visibility could likewise trigger backlash: As users explore the «Off-Facebook Activity» tab, they’ll become fully aware of Facebook’s breadth of knowledge on their habits.
If users adopt the new tool en masse, it could dampen Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities — and revenue as a result — but if users don’t, it could actually boost effectiveness. Facebook didn’t previously link this third-party data directly to users.
Instead, it stored the data in a variety of locations, organized by date and time. But to allow users to easily and entirely cleanse their browsing history from Facebook, it needed to pull all of the threads together in one place — that’s what the «Clear History» tool does.
If users adopt this tool on a wide scale, it could hurt Facebook’s ad targeting capabilities, something the company spelled out in a blog post this May. But if users don’t flock to the tool — which many likely won’t, unless Facebook actively directs them to the new section — the new infrastructure could actually help the company.
In the process of creating the new tool, Facebook now has centralized, better-organized data, with clearer links between a given user’s on- and off-platform activity. In that way, it’s possible that Facebook just gained an even more accurate view of some user’s preferences, potentially helping it serve even more effective ads.

Source: Business Insider Intelligence

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