Too little too late? Facebook tweaks its Privacy Settings, adds ‘Access Your Information’ page

Facebook privacy settings 1

The sleeping social media giant has finally woken up. After offering users lip-service through its nightmarish past two weeks, Facebook is now physically addressing its data issues, beginning with a redesign its apps’ privacy settings and the addition of a user info management section.

“Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data,” writes Erin Egan, the company’s VP and CPO, and Ashlie Beringer, VP and deputy general counsel in a joint statement.

Here’s the extent of the company’s latest efforts to honour the above.

Revamped mobile settings menu and privacy settings debut

For Android and iOS mobile app users, the setting menu has gone under the knife reappearing with chunkier, more descriptive menus. These menus replace the more granular but fragmented multi-page settings of old.

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Image: Facebook’s old (left) and new Privacy Settings pages on mobile

“Instead of having settings spread across nearly 20 different screens, they’re now accessible from a single place,” the company explains. “We’ve also cleaned up outdated settings so it’s clear what information can and can’t be shared with apps.”

That last point has been a notable omission, especially since Zuckerberg made it clear to the New York Times that Facebook can’t yet gauge if any or how many Cambridge Analytica-like app scams had access to users’ personal data.

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The apps’ Privacy Shortcuts page has also been simplified with “clearer explanations of how our controls work.” And yes, these settings are better explained and now even include pictures.

(Hooray for pictures.)

From this page users can attend their account security layers (like two-factor authentication), control their personal info and advertising, and restrict the visibility of their profile info to other users.

“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,” the company adds.

‘Access Your Information’: Keeping, managing or torching your data

The company takes this “delete it if you want to” notion a step further, because Facebook finally feels that its users are grown up enough to manage their own information.

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Image: Facebook’s ‘Access Your Information’ page mock-up

“Some people want to delete things they’ve shared in the past, while others are just curious about the information Facebook has,” states the company.

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In response, it’s bolting on an “Access Your Information” section to the website, billed as “a secure way for people to access and manage their information, such as posts, reactions, comments, and things you’ve searched for.”

“You can go here to delete anything from your timeline or profile that you no longer want on Facebook,” it clarifies.

It’s not clear when these tweaks will arrive to Facebook’s apps and website, and the company made no gesture towards a timeline.

Images: Facebook

Andy Walker, former editor


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