With data breaches consistently making headlines, users are starting to pay attention to their personal data. They are looking for ways to limit the third-party access to their data. This trend is increasing so much so that some companies have started to listen and to take steps to answer user preferences and demands. Facebook and Apple are just two of those companies.
In May 2018, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook announced that it would create a tool that would allow users to erase all of the information that Facebook has collected on them from third-party sites. After more than a year of waiting, the tool was finally launched in Ireland, Spain and South Korea at the end of August. Even though this tool will limit Facebook’s ability to personalize ads, the company is realizing that it needs to gain back the trust of its users. The name of the tool—Clear History—is however a bit misleading as nothing is actually deleted. Instead, the information is simply disconnected from the user’s account and will continue to be used for profiling and personalization in an anonymous mode. Moreover, this feature will not be promoted by Facebook as it would like to cater to the data conscious users while maintaining all access to information by users who are oblivious to the data breach and targeting threat. This is done in an effort to remain an interesting ad platform for publishers and to maintain their healthy revenue stream.
Apple, on the other hand, is offering a new sign-in tool altogether. It is giving its users a tracking-free alternative to the Facebook login. According to Apple’s website, it will not track any of the user’s interactions and will only collect the user’s name and email. With the new Apple release, this login option will be required for all apps available on the apple marketplace. This serves as a simple and trustworthy option for quick app sign-ins. This move is without a doubt one of Apple’s value propositions for the 2019 devices launch (and one of the ways that it will likely try to justify its premium prices).
Do you think companies should promote their data limiting features for customers to activate? Is it the consumer’s responsibility to stay informed and protect their own data? Or should companies simply avoid tracking user data for later exploitation?