Facebook Announces Makeover To Privacy Tools Amid Criticism Of Data Policies

Mark Zuckerberg

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook makes money by, among other things, harvesting user data and sharing it with app developers and advertisers. From there, you'll be able to enable two-factor authentication, review and delete things you've shared on the platform, tweak your ad preferences, and manage who sees your posts and profile information.

Facebook announced Wednesday it is shuttering an advertising program that used data from third-party brokers to precisely target ads to users of the social network - a change that comes as Facebook wrestles with criticisms that it has been cavalier about how it manages data on its some 2 billion users. The social media giant's stock has fallen 18% since the Cambridge Analytica news broke earlier this month.

That data, downloaded over years of Facebook users freely giving apps such as games and personality quizzes access to their information, is largely still stored outside Facebook's grasp by the private individuals and companies who built those applications.

First and foremost, Facebook will make your data settings and tools easier to find.

Facebook settings as they appear before (left) and after (right) recent changes.

Wednesday's announcement follows revelations that a Trump-affiliated consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, got data on millions of Facebook users.

In January, Zuckerberg set fixing Facebook as his personal challenge for 2018.

"People aren't going to trust Facebook, they're not going to be comfortable using it, if we're not an ethical steward of data", he said.

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"The current debate about Facebook and data privacy vividly illustrates that most countries are ill-prepared for the digital economy", UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Facebook will be rolling out more such privacy protection measures in the coming weeks.

In another big step, there will be the means to find, download and delete your Facebook data.

Facebook has not been having a good time in the public eye lately. One of the panels, the Senate Judiciary Committee, also asked the leaders of Google and Twitter to join him at a hearing in April focused broadly on Silicon Valley's data privacy practices.

Lawmakers in the United States and Britain are still clamoring for Zuckerberg himself to explain how users' data ended up in the hands of Cambridge Analytica.

But research has shown that changes in design, sometimes called privacy nudges, can affect people's behavior, said Lorrie Cranor, director of the Cylab Usable Privacy and Security Laboratory at Carnegie Mellon University and the US Federal Trade Commission's former chief technologist. "There are several problems and one needs to address operationally what Facebook is doing to provide confidence that personal data is protected".

He plans to testify before Congress, a source briefed on the matter said on Tuesday.

"Be sure you're not signing in through other apps and using Facebook to sign in".

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