'We've created a monster,' says professor about Facebook's data collection

30 March, 2018, 00:27 | Author: Julian Harrison
  • The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook’s privacy practices after a week of potentially damaging revelations. This is the FTC headquarters building in Washington D.C

Facebook said in another blog post on Wednesday that it was making its privacy settings easier to find and use. Facebook will need to be very transparent about what data it collects and how it is used, and make its privacy controls straightforward. Facebook has placed ads in British, German and US newspapers in recent days to apologize for the scandal.

Facebook, in response to criticism over the past 17 months, has repeatedly promised that it would crack down on advertisers who use those tools to show housing or employment ads to whites only. These menus replace the more granular but fragmented multi-page settings of old.

Facebook is also rolling out a new Privacy Shortcuts menu in the coming weeks that will let people regulate the amount of personal information the social media giant keeps on them, like political preferences and interests.

Johannes Caspar, the German government official responsible for policing the activities of Facebook, on Wednesday criticised the U.S. social media company's reaction in the ongoing Cambridge Analytical data scandal. Try to find how to stop your phone from uploading its contacts to Facebook, for instance, and you will go on a long and complex journey.

Facebook said many of these changes have been in the works for sometime, but the events of last week likely made these improvements a priority.

In conclusion, they said that "in the coming weeks, we'll be proposing updates to Facebook's terms of service that include our commitments to people". A new page called Access Your Information allows users to review past interactions with the site - including the things they have "liked" and the comments they have posted - with the option to make deletions. Facebook offers privacy feature like two-factor authentication, menu to control ads that you see, manage who sees your posts and who can not.

That form spelled out that Facebook was gathering users' information and selling it to third parties, including Cambridge Analytica, which used that information to push content to users to sway the 2016 presidential election. That data, generated over years of games and personality quizzes that had access to private information, is largely still stored outside of Facebook's grasp by the private individuals and companies that built those applications.

Facebook is making additional changes to its platform. The changes are meant to "better spell out what data we collect and how we use it", Egan and Beringer wrote, adding that this is "about transparency - not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data". She pointed out that in 2010, Zuckerberg said in the Washington Post that Facebook users needed simpler controls over their privacy and had promised then that Facebook would "add privacy controls that are much simpler to use".


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