Following a wave of criticism directed at Facebook over data collection and a lack of concern for user privacy, the social media giant has announced a major change to its platform, Fox News reported.
In a March blog post, chief privacy officer Erin Egan stated Facebook’s plan to improve and simplify its privacy settings, allowing users to access and change their privacy settings more easily, as well as download and delete whatever data has been collected by Facebook.
“It’s … our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that’s detailed, but also easy to understand,” the blog post reads.
“These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data.”
Facebook on Wednesday announced a reorganization of the privacy settings that users and security advocates alike have long criticized as a seeming afterthought https://t.co/IqHHHORTYO pic.twitter.com/4wNc3PE4My
— POLITICO (@politico) March 28, 2018
In other words, many of these features already exist on Facebook, but were not easily accessible or clear for the average user. Under the new changes, people will be able to change privacy and security settings on one centralized page, rather than having to navigate over a dozen separate sections on the platform.
“From the new page, users can control the personal information the social network keeps on them, such as their political preferences or interests, and download and review a file of data Facebook has collected about them. Facebook also will clarify what types of apps people are currently using and what permissions those apps have to gather their information,” The New York Times explained.
But, as noted by TechCrunch, these setting changes do not “provide any indications that Facebook plans to do anything different in terms of what information it’s gathering and using to run its service, and its bigger, profitable business.”
The new system will be introduced to Facebook users globally over the next few weeks.
Earlier this month, “reports surfaced that tens of millions of users were believed to have had their personal data leaked to Cambridge Analytica, a firm that used the information to assist then-candidate Donald Trump ahead of his successful 2016 presidential bid,” The Western Journal reported.
Revelations that the information of over 50 million users was used by the political consulting firm caused immediate backlash.
The following week, the company again came under fire over its collection of text and call logs through a pair of smartphone applications on Android devices.
The company has faced a plummeting stock price, as well as numerous investigations and lawsuits.
Facebook has lost $100 billion in market value since the news broke that user data was harvested by those trying to elect Trump. https://t.co/3fPfG5KzBM
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) March 28, 2018
“The last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies, and to help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data,” Egan said in a statement. “We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find, and that we must do more to keep people informed.”
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to testify before Congress next month over the data harvesting scandal.
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