Facebook’s Clear History tool is now available in all countries, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced in a blog post today. It’s part of a new section in your settings called “Off-Facebook activity,” and it lets users see which third-parties have shared user interactions with the social network — even when they’re not using Facebook directly.
Off-Facebook activity is the information that businesses and websites share with Facebook based on your interactions with those sites or apps. The Clear History tool can be helpful if you’re constantly getting ads for something you were just looking at online or being served suggestions for things Facebook thinks you might be interested in. Besides clearing your history, the new section also includes options to view your information by category, download the information, and select how off-Facebook activity can be managed in the future.
The tool was first announced at the company’s annual F8 developer conference in 2018 in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, and it first rolled out to three countries after facing months of delays. Facebook says the unexpected delays were due to technical challenges related to how the company stores data on its servers.
”Off-Facebook Activity marks a new level of transparency and control,” Zuckerberg wrote today. “We’ve been working on this for a while because we had to rebuild some of our systems to make this possible.”
In an initiative to mark Data Privacy Day, Facebook is showing users a prompt in the News Feed to review their privacy settings, directing them to a Privacy Checkup tool. The tool takes you through a tour of who can see your information, an option to turn on two-factor security, and which apps use your Facebook account to log in. Notably, it doesn’t point users to the new Off-Facebook activity introduced today. It’s also not the easiest tool to find as it’s buried in the side menus. Here’s a direct link, or you can find it in Settings —> Your Facebook Information —> Off-Facebook Activity.