Facebook Revamps Privacy Settings

Thomas Ujj

Thomas Ujj

janvier 27, 2017

Facebook is making it easier to examine privacy settings and secure your personal information.

In anticipation of Data Privacy Day, and under mounting pressure from various privacy groups, Facebook is revamping privacy settings on the world’s most popular social media platform. With nearly two billion Facebook users, this is certainly welcome!

Data Privacy Day is part of an international effort to create awareness about privacy and protecting personal information online. Facebook is contributing by revamping the way users can view their privacy settings. So, what exactly are these changes?

Facebook Privacy Updates

The aim of these updates is to help Facebook users better understand what kind of information is shared and available to the public. For example, users will now get prompts when taking certain actions (such as posting a status update). This simple feature will try to ensure that Facebook users are sharing information with the right audience.

Facebook is also launching an updated “Privacy Basics” page, which serves as a new privacy hub for all Facebook users. The page is almost a supercharged knowledge base on Facebook privacy. Users can view guides, post questions, and view answers related to privacy.

Facebook is also releasing a new “Privacy Checkup” tool that allows you to set permissions and post visibility for your profile. The tool will be a great way to remind yourself who you are sharing with online. You can also see what personal information is publicly available on your profile and About page.

I took the checkup tool for a quick spin, and I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to easily modify existing app permissions and view which audiences my posts are reaching through this tool. All in all, a pretty solid tool for increasing privacy.

Facebook Privacy Checkup

I do have to say that while these privacy changes seem nice and flashy on the surface, they also seem merely cosmetic when digging a bit deeper. All of the features of the new “Privacy Basics” have been accessible on Facebook for as long as I can remember. This revelation is somewhat disheartening, although it is now much easier to view settings in one place.

The timing of this “privacy update” is also quite suspicious when considering the recent uproar raised over a vulnerability in Facebook-owned Whatsapp. Is Facebook trying too hard to act like the good guy here?

Facebook and Data Collection

Social media is a slippery slope for privacy and Facebook is certainly no exception. Some even say privacy and social media can’t exist together! Regardless, social media users should always been mindful of what they are sharing online.

It must be said that Facebook does actively try to remind users of information shared with others. This is a nice gesture, even if not entirely done for the right reasons. Unfortunately, the reality is that nobody knows what Facebook is collecting about you. This should be frightening for anyone to hear!

While not much is known about Facebook’s real intentions with user data, rest assured that clicking the Like or Comment button will bring you specialized ads. Searching for something on Facebook? You can expect specific ads in search results shortly after! These is the basic reality of using any internet-based service today.

If you are curious about Facebook’s Data Policy, there is a page where Facebook (very plainly) explains what information falls under collection and what Facebook does with the data. For some reason, this page doesn’t get that much publicity!

The collection of user data in any form is a violation of basic privacy, although this is rather hard to avoid when signing up to and using Facebook. The best way to avoid data collection is not to use these kinds of internet services!

Nonetheless, everyday users can increase Facebook privacy and security in a variety of ways. Check out the Facebook Security and Privacy Guide for step-by-step guidance.

What do you think of Facebook shedding some light on user privacy settings? Is it a genuine attempt to be more straightforward with users or just a desperate attempt to save face against an increasingly privacy-aware user base?

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