As Facebook’s data scandal continues to weigh on the company’s stock price and the public expresses weariness over its commitment to protecting users, the social network announced a redesign aimed at streamlining and improving its privacy settings.
In response to multiple inquiries from lawmakers and pushback from some users, Facebook said in a March 28 blog post that it's changing the settings screen to make it easier for users to gain control of their information or delete their data.
On the desktop site, there’s a new panel called Access Your Information that allows users to easily manage or delete a wide range of things—posts, reactions, comments, search history—from Facebook. You can also download a secure copy of the data you’ve shared with Facebook, which includes photos, posts and much more, more easily.
The settings page for mobile devices also got a revamp, with easier-to-read descriptions of what each menu item does and a condensed single space as opposed to the previous version’s 20 different screens.
Lastly, its privacy shortcuts page now has more visuals and explanations for what each option does. Settings, which had previously been separated by asking questions like “How do I stop someone from bothering me?," are now divided into security, personal information, ads you see and management of who sees your posts and profile information.
In its blog post, Facebook claims many of these changes have been in the works for a while and that regulators, legislators and privacy experts were consulted during the process. The company also says it will be proposing updates to its terms of service in the coming months.
The fallout from reports in several publications that Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the Facebook data of 50 million users has continued. The data mining firm, which has ties to the 2016 Trump presidential campaign, has denied any wrongdoing.
“These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data,” Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer for Policy, and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel, said.
Whether these changes will be enough to mollify the concerns of privacy experts, lawmakers and the FTC, is anyone's guess. CEO Mark Zuckerberg is reportedly going to testify before U.S. lawmakers, although he has so far declined to do the same their British counterparts.