How to use Facebook's new data privacy tools

Cristina Cross
March 29, 2018

Now, instead of having the settings spread across 20 different pages, Facebook has now condensed them all to a single page.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg alluded to making privacy tools easier to access in his first public statement about the Cambridge Analytica situation last week.

This undated product image provided by Facebook shows a redesign of Facebook's privacy tools.

Close to $80bn (£56bn) has been wiped off Facebook's market value since 16 March, when it revealed it had received reports that Cambridge Analytica had not destroyed data about millions of its U.S. members, as demanded several years previously. Facebook acknowledged on Sunday that it began uploading call and text logs from phones running Google's Android system in 2015.

Though Facebook insists that the changes were already in the works due to the GDPR's upcoming reform of European Union data protection rules, this blog post does acknowledge the damage the Cambridge Analytica revelations have caused to the company's reputation.

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The suit seeks class-action status. The rules are created to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data.

Most of Facebook's updates to user controls "have been in the works for some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance", the execs wrote.

The tools include a new privacy shortcuts menu which enables users to control the personal information that appears on the site and delete information and interactions they have made on the platform, as well as search history. That information, by extension, will no longer be sent to advertisers.

India's IT minister warned Facebook against any abuse of social media in elections.

Control your personal information: You can review what you've shared and delete it if you want to. In the new centralized page, people will be given a streamlined list of what each app is collecting on them, as well as the ability to delete the apps.

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Some privacy advocates wondered whether the new system will make a difference. Most users understand and accept this, but as University of Toledo College of Law associate professor Agnieszka McPeak said.

"Facebook is the face of a larger problem - the problem of big data and privacy - and it's so large and nebulous and intractable that we have no real way to understand it, and so we wait until one of these whistleblowers come along, and that will be keep happening".

Damian Collins, chairman of the digital, culture, media and sport committee, said: "I would certainly urge him to think again if he has any concern for the people who use his company's services".

Sheera Frenkel is a New York Times writer.

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