Facebook's new privacy settings: Look out for these shortcuts, data delete options

Amid the ongoing trust crisis, Facebook users get an easier way to download their data and new mobile privacy settings.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video -- Data caper: How Cambridge Analytica hoarded voters' personal details

Facebook has announced new controls, privacy shortcuts, and tools to delete Facebook data but said these were in the works before the Cambridge Analytica scandal exploded.

The new privacy changes are designed to offer users more control over their data and come amid continued outrage over Facebook's handling of user privacy, which has already sparked an FTC investigation into whether the social media company breached a 2011 privacy-related settlement.

The new settings and privacy controls also arrive just ahead of Europe's new data-protection laws, known as GDPR, which come into effect in May.

As part of the update, Facebook has released a new feature called Access Your Information, a new "secure way" for users to access and delete their posts, reactions, comments, and searches from their timeline or profile.

Facebook's crisis has caused many users to explore the 'download your data' feature from the company.

Download now: EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance checklist

The current option downloads all a user's data, whereas a new option breaks up the download into several categories each with bold icons, such as posts, photos and videos, messages, groups, following, and followers and so on.

The existing download option has 72 categories of information, from addresses and apps to IP addresses, political views, work, and videos.

Facebook has also overhauled its settings menu on mobile devices in a way that should make it easier for users to find settings. The new page consolidates 20 separate screens down to a single page and ditched some outdated settings.

It's also introducing a new privacy shortcuts menu that offers simpler ways to control data with clearer explanations of how the controls work.

Here users can activate two-factor authentication, select ad preferences, and review posts that have been shared or reacted to, as well as Facebook searches. It also has a shortcut for managing who can see posts and profile information.


Facebook shows what the new consolidated settings page looks like.

Image: Facebook

"So in addition to Mark Zuckerberg's announcements last week -- cracking down on abuse of the Facebook platform, strengthening our policies, and making it easier for people to revoke apps' ability to use your data -- we're taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy," said Ashlie Beringer, VP and deputy general counsel.

"Most of these updates have been in the works for some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance."


Facebook is offering an easier way for users to download their data.

Image: Facebook

Previous and related coverage

Facebook: We'll pay you to track down apps that misuse your data

Facebook is rolling out a twist on its security bug bounty that will reward individuals for finding data misuse.

Apple's Tim Cook: Facebook's privacy blunder 'so dire' we need regulations

Cook thinks Facebook's Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal is so big that it warrants "well-crafted regulation".

Data breach exposes Cambridge Analytica's data mining tools

The exposed data shows Cambridge Analytica used software developed by Canadian firm AggregateIQ to benefit US campaigns.

Facebook promises "comprehensive audit" of Cambridge Analytica

Facebook in 2016 asked the analytics firm to delete the data collected from 50 million profiles, but Facebook never verified the company's response.

Cambridge Analytica's Facebook game in politics was just the beginning, the enterprise was next (TechRepublic)

The controversial data company's product lead spoke to TechRepublic to clarify the firm's role on the Trump campaign and outline a vision for the future of enterprise analytics.

Mark Zuckerberg answers key questions in scandal, but many remain (CNET)

Facebook's CEO says that he's sorry about the Cambridge Analytica scandal affecting "tens of millions" and that he'd be willing to testify before Congress.

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