Facebook to introduce new privacy controls in wake of data scandal

The Gen X  Baby Boomer cohort that scolds millennials for our rampant smartphone use is a) partially responsible for it and b) benefits significantly from it Emma Teitel writes

This feature can be used, Facebook says, to delete anything from your timeline or profile that you no longer want on the website.

The worry is that users will leave the platform, which will in turn, make advertisers do the same.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who publically apologized for his failures to protect user privacy, will reportedly testify before Congress next month to explain how the privacy breach occurred and what steps are being made to ensure it doesn't happen again.

Public outcry has built since reports in The New York Times and The Observer that Cambridge Analytica improperly received data on tens of millions of Facebook userswho downloaded an unrelated psychology app, and data on those users' friends, without their consent.

First up, Facebook has redesigned its app's settings page on iOS and Android.

"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", the blog post said.

Facebook said a new privacy shortcuts menu will allow users to quickly increase account security, manage who can see their information and activity on the site and control advertisements they see.

Facebook announced Wednesday that the company will make it easier for users to find various privacy settings in the wake of criticism of how the company collects data on user habits.

"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", Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, and Ashlie Beringer, its deputy general counsel, said in a statement.

In addition, members will be able to download specific categories of data including their photos from a selected time range, rather than only being able to export a single large file that might take hours to obtain.

Facebook also said it plans to update its privacy policy and terms of service in the coming weeks, but gave no further details. Instead of having settings spread across nearly 20 different screens as it did before they're now accessible from a single place. "We appreciate the opportunity to answer questions the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has raised, as we continue our review of the situation", a Facebook India spokesperson said in response to an email query. The rules are created to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data.

'These updates are about transparency - not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data'. 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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