Facebook Announces “Clear History” App at F8 Conference, Just in Time for GDPRRita Mailheau
If you aren’t one of those people who follow data privacy regulations, you might not be aware of the doozy the European Union (EU) is getting ready to roll out. It’s called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and it’s going to cost organizations a lot of money if hacked—€20M/$23.5M U.S., or up to 4 percent of annual worldwide revenue turnover.
This new legislation goes into effect the 25th of this month.
Information is power. That’s why privacy advocates have been pushing for data ownership rights on behalf of the “data subject” for some time.
Thanks to big data—computing, sales, and marketing campaigns know more about you than your grandmother ever did. The money-making potential of personal data is a reality groups like Facebook, Amazon, and Google have leveraged unstintingly. That’s how they still make their money.
The move to protect the individual
Data protection is huge. After a long and painful string of highly publicized data breaches, and a growing awareness of Internet exposure, people have begun to wake up to the potential threat. Whole businesses are modeled on keeping your data safe.
Nation states are getting into the game, too. The EU is the latest, but certainly not the first, ruling body seeking to protect the rights of its citizens. Russia, China, and even the U.S., led by the ACLU, have enacted laws that are designed to protect sensitive personal data.
This article will present the context for Facebook’s announcement to build a new app “Clear History.”
Facebook’s reputation on the line
Mark Zuckerberg is scrambling but has done a good job of getting out ahead of the data-privacy regulations being unleashed in Europe. It’s not surprising after disturbing revelations that Cambridge Analytica (CA), a British firm, had harvested personal data from a Facebook quiz.
Facebook is understandably looking for ways to rebuild trust.
STEP ONE: Admission of guilt
Facebook obtained signatures from Cambridge Analytica, avowing data deletion. CA representatives Christopher Wylie, and Aleksandr Kogan signed documents stating data from 87 million users harvested by Kogan through the “This Is Your Digital Life” quiz app had been deleted.
A second data scandal recently popped up. It’s called the “myPersonality” quiz.
New Scientist reports roughly 280 people at different tech companies had website access to myPersonality data. The leak “contained Facebook details and even status updates of 150,000 users.” Facebook has allegedly known of the quiz since 2011.
The timing of these events and Mr. Zuckerberg’s testimony before Congress in light of data responsibility have shined an unwelcome spotlight on everything. Much of F8 focus was addressing the fall out of GDPR, Facebook’s congressional inquiry, and public opinions.
What’s a social media mogul to do?
STEP TWO: The Clear History app
On May 1, 2018, in conjunction with a press release, Mark Zuckerberg the host of the F8 conference, announced plans to build an app called Clear History.
“This feature will enable you to see the websites and apps that send us information when you use them, delete this information from your account, and turn off our ability to store it associated with your account going forward. Apps and websites that use features such as the Like button or Facebook Analytics send us information to make their content and ads better. We also use this information to make your experience on Facebook better.
“If you clear your history or use the new setting, we’ll remove identifying information so a history of the websites and apps you’ve used won’t be associated with your account.”
So, what’s the catch?
There isn’t one—except—managing your data becomes your job. And what about the odd bits of your data low-tech friends and family post on their Facebook pages? Not worth getting in a snarl over unless you’re in the witness protection program or something.
It’ll be interesting to see how Facebook designs access to Clear History. The simpler, the better as far as I’m concerned. People do not need any more complexity.
Final thoughts on the GDPR
For the about 743 million EU residents, GDPR promises to lead to better digital security. To organizations with business interests in Europe, it promises to be a nightmare. Thankfully, the rise of blockchain technology with its encryption power will make many of these data requirements irrelevant.
Perhaps that’s why so many companies are leading the charge. IBM, for instance, offers ready-made platform cloud services and solutions designed for quick adoption.
Facebook, too, has announced their intention to develop blockchain and cryptocurrency. That will take place over the next 2-3 years and will be led by the head of the Messenger app and former PayPal president, David Marcus. The use of blockchain should make things much more private for the more than 1 billion active users on Facebook.
We at PLANET wish David Marcus success in his latest assignment.