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Facebook, under massive public pressure for years of privacy breaches, won praise earlier this month when it said people would soon be able to “flush your history whenever you want.”

Except the new feature won’t exactly do that.

To understand what’s at work here, you need to know that Facebook collects user information in two ways. First, through info you put into its website and apps. And second — and this is what we’re going to talk about in this article — through information Facebook sucks up about which websites you visit while you’re not on Facebook. It even collects this information from people who don’t have a Facebook account.

For years, the company has used little bits of invisible code and data files to log the websites and apps you’ve visited, what you’ve purchased, and what you’ve clicked on — and then had that information sent right back to the mothership. When Mark Zuckerberg was asked about this in front of Congress, he dodged and claimed he “didn’t know all the details.”

Facebook has long hidden the specifics of what data it collects from users in the second category. When you use Facebook’s Download Your Data tool, this category of data is not there. It’s not apparent what information, exactly, is being collected.

Facebook says this will all change soon. It claims “Clear History” will finally reveal what that off-Facebook browsing…

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