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Facebook Releases New Privacy Measures, But They May Not Appease Critics

Facebook has unveiled its new privacy tool, which will allow users to see and control the data apps and Websites share with the social media site. But it might not be enough to quiet growing criticisms about the company. 

The tools, says Facebook, are meant to “shed more light” on online tracking techniques that determine which ads a user sees on Facebook. Those contextual ads are generally determined by an examination of browsing history, online shopping and other online activities. With the new tools, users can turn some or all of that tracking off and remove that history from their accounts. 

That could result in fewer targeted ads, which could impact the company’s revenues. 

“We expect this could have some impact on our business, but we believe giving people control over their data is more important,” the company said in a blog post. 

The tool falls a bit short of what Facebook initially pledged more than a year ago when it began work on the feature. At the time, founder/CEO Mark Zuckerberg referred to the feature as “clear history,” much like a Web browser, where the information is deleted entirely. But the tool, as described, doesn’t erase that history for users. It simply severs identifying information. 

Consumers and regulators have been uncomfortable for some time over the amount of personal data that Facebook collects—even when users are offline.

The slow rollout of the feature could cause some consternation as well. At present, the feature is only available in Ireland, South Korea and Spain. Facebook says it will introduce it to additional markets in the coming months.

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