Facebook delays critical Clear History privacy tool well into 2019

Facebook continues to delay the launch of a critical privacy feature announced following the Cambridge Analytica scandal that compromised the personal data of tens of millions of users.

The planned Clear History feature is scheduled to give users more control over the data Facebook has stored, such as websites they’ve visited from Facebook or apps they have used and installed.

However, seven months after the feature was announced in May, the company has yet to offer it to the 2 billion plus users with Facebook accounts. The reason? Facebook says the feature is taking longer to build than it had initially hoped.

The firm had previously said it would take months to get the Clear History tool ready, but it still appears to be months away from a launch. When quizzed by Recode, the company would only commit to a timeframe of Spring 2019, and that’s only for testing.

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The head of the newly created privacy product team, Dave Baser, told the site: “It’s taking longer than we initially had thought. We did underestimate how long [this] would take.”

Initially, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had promised the Clear History tool as part of the cleanup operation that followed the damaging Cambridge Analytica breach, which exposed the personal data.

In a post on Facebook on May 1, the Facebook CEO wrote: “Once we roll out this update, you’ll be able to see information about the apps and websites you’ve interacted with, and you’ll be able to clear this information from your account. You’ll even be able to turn off having this information stored with your account.

“…this is an example of the kind of control we think you should have. It’s something privacy advocates have been asking for — and we will work with them to make sure we get it right. ”

While Facebook has dallied in releasing this tool, the company has suffered from a number of further damaging privacy scandals. At the end of last week the company admitted that users photos were exposed to third-party apps because of a bug in its Photos API.

Can users really afford to wait another few months before Facebook rolls out these promised controls?

Di you still trust Facebook to look after your personal data? Let us know @TrustedReviews on Twitter.

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