Facebook Details Revamped Privacy Tools to Put Users 'More in Control' of Their Data

Following revelations that emerged last week about Facebook's misuse of user data, the company today said it has "heard loud and clear" that it needs to make it easier for users to know how to control their own privacy settings and data. These updates to Facebook mobile and on the web "have been in the works for some time," according to Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan, "but the events of the past several days underscore their importance."

The first update is found in a redesigned settings menu on mobile devices, so instead of settings that are spread across "nearly 20 different screens," they're all in one place. This area is also now cleaned up so outdated menus are gone and it's more clear what user information can and can't be shared with apps.

The old settings menu (left) and new settings menu (right)

A new Privacy Shortcuts menu launches users into an area where they can look at information regarding privacy, security, and ads "in just a few taps." This menu is also now clearer, has more visuals, and provides simple explanations for how each control option works. Below you'll find a breakdown of everything you can do when jumping into Privacy Shortcuts:
Make your account more secure: You can add more layers of protection to your account, like two-factor authentication. If you turn this on and someone tries to log into your account from a device we don’t recognize, you’ll be asked to confirm whether it was you.

Control your personal information: You can review what you’ve shared and delete it if you want to. This includes posts you’ve shared or reacted to, friend requests you’ve sent, and things you’ve searched for on Facebook.

Control the ads you see: You can manage the information we use to show you ads. Ad preferences explains how ads work and the options you have.

Manage who sees your posts and profile information: You own what you share on Facebook, and you can manage things like who sees your posts and the information you choose to include on your profile.
In a new area called Access Your Information, users can access and manage data -- like posts, timeline memories, items on a profile, reactions, comments, and items searched for -- so that it can be easily deleted. Facebook said it's also making it easier to download the data shared on the site. Users can download a secure copy of photos uploaded, contacts, timeline posts, and more, "and even move it to another service."


Next, the company said that it plans to update its terms of service with the inclusion of "commitments to people," as well as update its data policy to "better spell out" what data is collected and how it's used. In total, Facebook said that all of these updates are about transparency, and "not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data."

Apple CEO Tim Cook this past weekend described the Facebook scandal as "dire," calling for stronger privacy regulations in the wake of news that data firm Cambridge Analytica amassed data on 50 million Facebook users without their consent and targeted messages to voters during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook has now delayed the launch of its own entry into the smart speaker market, and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify in front of Congress on privacy in the coming weeks.



Top Rated Comments

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7 months ago
Ah lovely, the false sense of security is strong in this one.
Rating: 13 Votes
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7 months ago
Anyone that has ever posted on Facebook and has ever expected any privacy has been deluding themselves.
Rating: 13 Votes
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7 months ago
To Facebook personal data = profits. They will never give you tools to get in the way of their bottom line.

Any changes they ever make will only be to provide a false sense of security so that people are more willing to share data and Facebook profits more.

This is how you turn a disaster into added profit. Facebook will be better off financially because of this leak.
Rating: 7 Votes
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7 months ago
Too little, too late. Deactivated my Facebook account a year ago. If it was easier to delete it, I would do.
Rating: 5 Votes
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7 months ago
Look at the history of FaceBook he hacked into the university to get all the profiles of students for his original dating software. He knew just like any organisation profiling and data is the real money maker.
Rating: 4 Votes
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7 months ago
Deactivated my account 4-5 months ago and haven't looked back.
Rating: 3 Votes
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7 months ago

What sharing settings had the user set? If A and B are users who are Facebook friends, and A says data can be shared with friends of friends, and C is an app that asked for permission to be "friendly" with B, then C has access to that data on A. What's the problem here? "Friends of friends" may as well be "a random subset of everyone" - it's not like you're going to monitor your entire friend list to make sure none of them are making dubious choices of friends.

If you and I are friends on FB, you can't give a 3rd party app permission to scrape my personal information. FB 3rd party permission settings allowed that to happen. I am pretty sure you and most everyone else was unaware.
That's the issue in a nutshell.
Rating: 3 Votes
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7 months ago
This is literally what they say every time. "We're giving you more control!"
Rating: 3 Votes
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7 months ago

Facebook users take their own risks of their information ‘voluntarily’ be exposed knowingly or unknowingly. Facebook should not be blamed for any leaks of their users’ information. Their users get the blames. Fortunate for me and those who do not have a Facebook account as we minimize the risks of exposing our information to the world.


What a load of twaddle. Facebook is not just a social pleasure. It has become a de facto public good. And, last time I checked, we live in a democracy (and for those of us who don’t, we mostly aspire to). So, despite the fact that it is privately owned, the reality is that Facebook users have rights, if they build a political movement to demand those rights. That’s how rights work! Facebook knows this. And they’d be fools not to get their affairs in order.
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What exactly is anyone saying Facebook did wrong? ... I feel like people are confused about what information was collected and assume it was all collected against their will or something, and that they're either (#1) mistaken in what was actually collected, or they're (#2) mistaken about the privacy settings they chose. And I think #1 is most likely - people are just angry for no reason, and the entire story is pretty much fabricated.


What’s wrong is that an academic researcher scraped data at a massive step of remove from the users he was supposed to studying, and then sold that data to a political firm that specializes in ‘fixing’ public opinion. This was a violation of Facebook terms. And users were never told that this could happen.
Rating: 2 Votes
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7 months ago
Step 1 - login to Facebook
Step 2 - delete your account

To quote Jeff Goldblum... “there is no step 3!”
Rating: 2 Votes
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