New Facebook privacy tools released in wake of scandal

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New Facebook privacy tools released in wake of scandal
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The social media giant has updated its privacy controls and a new Firefox extension stops Facebook from snooping on your browsing.

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has released a major privacy update, allowing users to more easily view and edit the information the social media giant holds about them. Mozilla, meanwhile, has released a Firefox browser extension that stops Facebook from snooping on your browsing.

Both releases come at a time when the social media giant is under scrutiny following developments involving Cambridge Analytica, the political strategy company alleged to accessed data of some 50 million Facebook users without their permission.

More on the Cambridge Analytica scandal and Firefox extension later. First, let’s look at Facebook’s new privacy feature, which is called Access Your information.

It includes a privacy shortcuts menu so users are able to quickly make changes to their privacy settings, including adding two-factor authentication, deleting posts that have been shared, like or commented upon, managing the information used to show ads and changing the information people can see about you.

Facebook's old (left) vs new privacy settings.

The new feature also allows you to delete things you've searched for (such as users, groups, ages or just search terms). If you want to, you're now able to download all of the information Facebook holds about you too, including photos, posts, contacts and more. If you want to move it to another service, you can do pretty easily.

Across all devices, the social network's settings user interface has been updated to make it easier to find privacy settings and it's removed some “outdated” setting so it's totally clear which apply to which apps.

“In the coming weeks, we’ll be proposing updates to Facebook’s terms of service that include our commitments to people. We’ll also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it,” said Erin Egan, VP and chief privacy officer of policy and Ashlie Beringer, VP and deputy general counsel.

“These updates are about transparency – not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data. We’ve worked with regulators, legislators and privacy experts on these tools and updates.”

In a statement, Facebook said the privacy update was taken in order to comply with EU’s upcoming GDPR guidelines, due to come into force in May. The company said the majority of its updates have been on the cards for a while, but Facebook has decided to roll them out now to make it clear to users their data will no longer be misused.

Next: Firefox extension stops Facebook from snooping on your browsing

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