Key Takeaways from Facebook’s New Data Tools & Privacy Shortcuts

Ever wonder how those Facebook ads know what you’re interested in?

Facebook uses the data you put online – including your age, employer, marital status, and even the posts you like – to sell to advertisers seeking to target their product to specific online audiences. This is part of Facebook’s business model of generating revenue while maintaining Facebook as a free social media platform.

What Facebook is Changing

Following recent controversies over Facebook’s data collection and advertising tools, the site will now let users have more control over just how much information Facebook can collect. Through a new feature called “Access Your Information,” users can manage how their information is shared with the world’s largest social media network. To be clear, users already had access to much of these settings, however, the new update makes them more easily accessible.

Facebook claims that this new feature, launched to help crack down on abuse of the platform, will make finding and managing your personal data easier. Through the redesigned Privacy Shortcuts menu, you can now see what personal information is being shared with advertisers and restrict access to some of their access. This feature also makes it easier to view, download, or delete your data that is stored with Facebook.

Facebook’s Future Under Mark Zuckerberg

The Access Your Information feature is just one part of Facebook’s new plan to embrace transparency. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg released a public statement late March 2018 outlining his plans to address what he called “a breach of trust between Facebook and the people who share their data with us and expect us to protect it”.

According to Zuckerberg, Facebook is working to address three major goals in the near future:

  1. Conducting a full audit of any applications suspected of misusing Facebook users’ data and banning applications that do not comply with the audit.
  2. Restricting developers access to data by reducing the data user’s give to third-party applications when signing in and remove their access to data after a 3-month period of inactivity.
  3. Releasing a new tool that will let users easily see applications with access to their data and making it easier to revoke that access.

In the face of the controversies leading up to Facebook’s changing policies, Zuckerberg stated, “I started Facebook, and at the end of the day I’m responsible for what happens on our platform. I’m serious about doing what it takes to protect our community.”

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