Facebook to Streamline Privacy Settings in Wake of Cambridge Analytica Scandal

Mai Schotz

Mai Schotz

The new features follow fierce criticism after it was revealed millions of Facebook users' personal data was harvested by a British firm linked to Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign - although Facebook said the changes have been "in the works for some time". On Wednesday, Facebook announced an overhaul of its privacy controls to make them easier to use.

For starters, the social network has redesigned the settings menu on mobile devices to, hopefully, make it easier to manage your account and see what type of data apps connected to it are accessing.

"It's also our responsibility to tell you how we collect and use your data in language that's detailed, but also easy to understand", Egan and Beringer wrote.

However, it will now incorporate the third party apps that misuse the data of its users. The results will range from the expected - photos and videos you've posted - to the unexpected as users on the Android platform also have their phone and text message records listed.

"The person who's putting the content on Facebook always owns the information, and that's why this is such an important thing", Zuckerberg said, "and why Facebook is such a special service that people feel a lot of ownership over".

His comments came amid renewed pressure from the European Union to disclose more details about how up to 50 million users' data are alleged to have been taken from Facebook and used in political campaigns.

The section will also enable users to access secure copies of their Facebook history more quickly, the company said.

Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg last week apologized for the breach of trust and outlined steps the company would take to better protect users.

The company is now taking measures to mend the damage done and is also working on improving its privacy settings.

"The solution isn't shifting the burden to the user because the problem is the negative externalities of the business model".

"The biggest difference is ease of access in settings, which fulfils Mark Zuckerberg's promise to make the privacy process and permissions more transparent to users", Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said. "Accordingly, a letter has been issued by the ministry of electronics & IT on March 28, 2018 to Facebook seeking their response", the ministry said in a statement. The question, of course, is whether or not it will have any impact moving forward at all.

"Online platforms now lack meaningful legal incentives to protect users before their privacy is violated", Gilbert said in a statement.

Do I think this data gathering had an overwhelming influence on the end result of the election?

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.

The US Federal Trade Commission this week said it had launched a probe into whether the social network violated consumer protection laws or a 2011 court-approved agreement on protecting private user data.

United States lawmakers are trying to get Zuckerberg to come to Washington to testify on the matter.

Facebook has been floundering in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook deals in data collection and distribution.

- The Associated Press contributed reporting.

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