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Facebook to introduce new privacy tools

Facebook on Tablet

Facebook to introduce new privacy tools

In the wake of its latest controversy, social networking giant Facebook is set to launch a new set of privacy tools in a bid to give users more control over their own data and privacy. The tools are to be introduced in time for the new EU regulations that will tighten up data protection.

The news comes during a troubled couple of weeks for the world’s largest social networking site after the news emerged surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal. The changes were announced in a blog post yesterday by two Facebook executives – Erin Egan, the VP and Chief Privacy Officer, and VP and Deputy General Counsel, Ashlie Beringer.

In the post, the pair explain that the events of recent weeks have highlighted to the company how much work still needs to be done to enforce their policies, as well as to help its users understand how the site works and the control they have in regards to their data. The duo admitted that the company now realises users find the privacy settings are too difficult to find on the site and that Facebook needs to increase its efforts to keep users informed.

Furthermore, Egan and Beringer state that these updates have been in the pipeline for a while now, but the recent events highlight their importance.

The privacy features will be made available to all of the site’s users, not just those governed by the EU’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) policy, which will come into effect at the end of May. One of the new privacy features will be a unified privacy dashboard, a tool that had been discussed previously by Facebook officials back in January.

On mobile versions of the app, users will be able to see all of their privacy settings on a single screen, rather than having them scatted across around several different pages. They will also find a separate option for ‘privacy shortcuts’ on the menu, which will contain a host of options regarding data protection, in-app privacy and ad personalisation.

Facebook is also going to be complying with rules relating to the access of personal data by introducing a new tool that would allow users to find their Facebook data and be able to download and delete it.

However, the social giant is not going to be making it any easier for users to permanently delete their account. At present, this option is buried deep within a help menu and is overshadowed by the less destructive option of deactivating an account, which still leaves the user’s information on the Facebook server and available to be accessed by the site’s data-mining tools.

Facebook states that it will be making further changes in the future as a response to user feedback, which will include an update to the site’s terms and data policies.


Alan Littler

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