Facebook will give its users a “clear history” option

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Mark Zuckerberg announced a big change to Facebook on Tuesday: The social media platform will now give users a "clear history" option.

In a (of course), the company's CEO compared the change to clearing your browser history, which deletes the “cookies” that track your movement online. Zuckerberg said he’ll give more details during his first keynote address at Facebook’s F8 developers conference in San Jose later Tuesday.

“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,” Zuckerberg wrote.

But there’s a caveat: Clearing that history will likely make users’ experiences worse, according to Zuckerberg.

“To be clear, when you clear your cookies in your browser, it can make parts of your experience worse,” he continued. “You may have to sign back in to every website, and you may have to reconfigure things. The same will be true here. Your Facebook won't be as good while it relearns your preferences.”

Facebook doesn’t just collect data on its users when they use the platform — the company also allows third-party apps and websites, like Amazon and other online retailers, to add snippets of Facebook-produced data, which collects users’ information and lets Facebook target ads based on browsing history. That’s how ads for those companies follow you around the web.

Clearing history will also clear that information from Facebook’s reserves, too. Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said in a statement that the company is working with privacy experts to fine-tune the feature, which could take a few months to build.

Facebook has come under fire for allowing data analytics firm Cambridge Analytica to harvest user data for about 87 million profiles and use that information to target campaign ads during the 2016 election. Zuckerberg testified before Congress for the first time ever in April and fielded questions from lawmakers about the stolen data as well as political censorship on the social media platform.

“One thing I learned from my experience testifying in Congress is that I didn't have clear enough answers to some of the questions about data,” Zuckerberg wrote in his post announcing the privacy setting change Tuesday. “We're working to make sure these controls are clear, and we will have more to come soon.”

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Cover image: A Mark Zuckerberg figure with people in angry emoji masks outside Portcullis House in Westminster, London ahead of Mike Schroepfer, Chief Technology Officer at Facebook, appearing before the DCMS inquiry into fake news. (Press Association via AP Images)

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