Facebook has said that it will roll out a centralised system that will allow users to control their privacy and security settings. The move comes after a week a tumult at the world biggest social media site following revelations that political consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, had amassed Facebook user data for some 50 million people without ever getting their permission.
The social media giant has rolled out a new settings page for its mobile app and has also added a new dashboard called “Access Your Information” where users can find everything they’ve shared with or on Facebook in one place.
In addition to redesigning its settings menu on mobile devices, Facebook said it is creating a new privacy shortcut menu where users would be able to better secure their accounts and control personal information. It would also allow users to review and delete data they have shared, including posts and search queries.
Here’s a simple breakdown of all new additions:
- Privacy settings in one place: All the settings that used to spread across 20 different screens are accessible from a single one. Users will no longer have to dig through every single menu to find the requisite privacy setting.
- Privacy Shortcuts menu: This brings settings like two-factor authentication, ad controls, tools to manage who sees your posts and controls for reviewing what you’ve shared under a single menu.
- Acess Your Information tool: Lets you access, manage and delete information from your profile or timeline (including posts, reactions, comments and searches).
- Secure download of all Facebook data: While this was already possible Facebook says that everything you download now including photos, contacts and posts could be migrated to another service. There are no details mentioned of how this migration will work.
Additionally, Facebook also plans to clarify the information being gathered by apps that hook into Facebook. Several seemingly innocent apps that allow users to play games with their friends or share photos could also be quietly monitoring their posts, interactions with friends, and contacts. 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.
What is important to note here is that all these changes are cosmetic. Facebook hasn’t had a sudden change of heart and won’t alter the way it collects your data or serves you content. All of this information was available to users before, it was just scattered and buried in different pages that made it tougher to collect. The silver lining here is that it’ll be easier now for users to both offer an rescind their consent to Facebook on how it interacts with your data.
Facebook forced to move quickly
Facebook reportedly began developing the centralized system last year but sped it up after the Cambridge Analytica revelations. The amount of data Cambridge Analytica obtained about Facebook users reignited fears over how much influence and power the social network has over its user base and how much it knows about them.
Facebook shares are down nearly 18% since March 16, the day of the revelation, eating away nearly $100 billion of the company’s market value.
“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,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, and Ashlie Beringer, a Facebook deputy general counsel, said in a statement announcing the new system. “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.”