NEW YORK (AP/WCMH) — Facebook is giving its privacy tools a makeover as it reels from criticisms over its data practices and faces tighter European regulations in the coming months.
A blog released by Facebook’s chief privacy officer, Erin Egan states, “We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed.”
The company hopes its 2.2 billion users will have an easier time navigating its complex and often confusing privacy and security settings. Facebook says it also wants to give users a simpler way to access and download the data it collects on them.
Now, instead of having the settings spread across 20 different pages, Facebook has now condensed them all to a single page.
“We’ve also cleaned up outdated settings so it’s clear what information can and can’t be shared with apps,” the blog reads.
Chris Cox, Facebook’s chief product officer, called the new settings “the first of many steps” the company is taking to address privacy concerns.
Facebook has been working on the changes in preparation for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which were approved two years ago and take effect May 25. The rules are designed to make it easier for consumers to give and withdraw consent for the use of their data. They apply to any company that collects data on EU residents, no matter where it is based.
To comply with this, Facebook is adding a section called “access your information,” a secure way for users to manage data they’ve shared with the company, including status updates, comments and things they have searched for. That’s where people can go to delete information or download a copy.
While this download was already possible, it took some time to figure out how to do it. Cox said the changes let people browse through their information in detail, without having to download it. For example, users will now be able to look up a post from a specific date in the past.
The new privacy shortcut menu will also allow people to make their account more secure, control personal information, control ads, and manage who sees the user’s posts and profile information.
To read more about the changes to Facebook’s security settings click here: Facebook Security Blog