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As privacy and transparency expectations for businesses across all industries are increasing, Facebook has begun to roll out several updates to help protect user data. One of these updates is a new Clear History tool that will allow users to clear their browsing history within Facebook and also turn off future browser history from being shared with the platform. Facebook clarified that user data will not actually be deleted but it will remain anonymous if users chose to use the new tool. Facebook just began rolling out the Clear History Tool this week.

How Does the Clear History Tool Work?

This new feature lets Facebook users manage their data usage by allowing users to disconnect their off-Facebook activity from their profile so Facebook will not be able to use browsing history to inform for ad targeting. The tool is meant to give Facebook users more transparency and control of their data, how websites and apps share that data with Facebook and how advertisers are able to leverage that data. This will affect all technologies that contain a Facebook pixel, SDK or API. 

Does This Tool Affect Ad Targeting?

If a user decides to disconnect their off-Facebook activity, the data gathered from those online activities will not be available for targeting through Facebook. This impacts the function of the Facebook Pixel are widely used by advertisers to build custom audiences based off of website and app activity. Since the Facebook Pixel gathers data outside of the Facebook platform, advertisers will not be able to use the Facebook Pixel to target users who have disconnected their off-Facebook data.


Does This Tool Impact Measurement and Analytics Reports?

At this time, Facebook says it doesn’t anticipate changes to measurement or analytics reports. Facebook is not deleting off-Facebook activity but rather making it anonymous and allowing the data to be used for measurements rather than targeting. Facebook announced that it “will still be able to provide accurate measurement to help businesses understand the impact of their Facebook investment while honoring people’s choice to exercise control over their off-Facebook activity.”


Why Advertisers Should Care?

When users understand how their data is collected and used, it helps them to feel in control. Although the Clear History Tool can impact ad targeting by giving users more control of their data, it will ultimately improve how Facebook users feel about being advertised to on the platform. As Facebook becomes more focused on protecting users’ data, advertisers need to consider these platform updates when planning their targeting strategies.

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