Facebook changes its privacy setting: What you need to know

Sheila Mcguire
March 30, 2018

Facebook on Wednesday unveiled new privacy settings aiming to give its users more control over how their data is shared, following an outcry over hijacking of personal information at the giant social network. You can also download all of your photos and videos posted to Facebook and delete your profile, and even erase some of the information that's shared with Facebook.

Egan and Beringer also announced updates to Facebook's terms of service and data policy to improve transparency about how the site collects and uses data.

"The biggest difference is ease of access in settings, which fulfills Mark Zuckerberg's promise to make the privacy process and permissions more transparent to users", Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said.

Advertisers would still be able to use third-party data services to measure how well their ads performed by examining purchasing data, Facebook said. Its stock price has fallen sharply since the Cambridge Analytica news broke on March 17. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has called the Cambridge Analytica leak "a major breach of trust" and has outlined steps Facebook will take to better protect the data of its 2 billion users.

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"Zuck promised easier, better privacy controls "in the coming weeks" eight years ago", Zeynep Tufekci, a University of North Carolina professor who studies social media, said on Twitter.

The crisis also threatens the Silicon Valley tech industry whose business model revolves around data collected on internet users.

Facebook settings as they appear before (left) and after (right) recent changes. Referring to Wednesday's privacy center announcement, Cox indicated additional steps are on the way.

"Online platforms now lack meaningful legal incentives to protect users before their privacy is violated", Gilbert said in a statement.

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For those who have been living under a rock, Facebook has been rocked by a scandal that a company called Cambridge Analytica harvested data from the platform via surveys, and used that to target politically sensitive people with disinformation in the Trump and Brexit campaigns.

"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.

Facebook now faces a Herculean effort to restore public trust in its commitment to privacy and data protection, sources at the company have told CNN.

United States lawmakers are trying to haul Zuckerberg to Washington to testify on the matter. That panel's leader, Chairman Damian Collins, previously accused Facebook of having "understated the risk" about the data it holds on its users - and whether it had been taken without consent.

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The new home devices are part of Facebook's plan to become more intimately involved with users' everyday social lives, using artificial intelligence - following a path forged by Amazon.com Inc. and its Echo in-home smart speakers.

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