April 21, 2018

Facebook simplifies privacy settings following data misuse

29 March 2018, 01:21 | Kenneth Drake

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg was asked to appear in person Credit Reuters

Mark Zuckerberg

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".

Facebook detailed some changes to its mobile app to make it easier to find and adjust privacy settings, the company said Wednesday in an online post. The company also says it will be proposing updates to its terms of service in the coming months.

The German government official responsible for policing the activities of Facebook, Johannes Caspar, on Wednesday, criticised the US social media company's reaction in the ongoing Cambridge Analytical data scandal. The site reportedly bases users' political motivations on their Facebook likes, the site will determine a users' political affiliations regardless of whether or not they have publicly stated their support for a particular political candidate. Instead of spreading the settings across nearly 20 different pages, they are now all accessible from one screen. For example, Facebook announced in 2009 that it was consolidating six privacy pages and more than 30 settings on to a single privacy page.

Facebook has lost an estimated $80 billion in value over the last week as thousands of users have deleted their accounts following the revelation that the company stored phone call and text message data for Android users who used Facebook Messenger. The company also made it easier to understand how these different controls work.

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.

"If we find developers that misused personally identifiable information, we will ban them from our platform", Archibong said, adding that the changes are meant to "help mitigate any breach of trust with the broader developer ecosystem".

The government on Wednesday asked Facebook Inc to clarify whether the company or any of its associates or partners that has access to user data had engaged in the manipulation of elections, according to a statement issued by the ministry of electronics and IT. For example, users will now be able to look up a post from a specific date in the past. "This includes photos you've uploaded, contacts you've added to your account, posts on your timeline, and more", Facebook said. 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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