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Facebook revamps privacy settings amid data breach outcry

Facebook revamps privacy settings amid data breach outcry

"If data isn't helping people, we shouldn't use it", Chris Cox, Facebook's chief product officer, said Tuesday, according to BuzzFeed. The company is facing unprecedented scrutiny following reports that a data mining firm used ill-gotten data from tens of millions of its users to try to influence elections.

Last week, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a crackdown on abuse of Facebook's platform, strengthened policies, and pledged an easier way for people to revoke apps' ability to use their data.

The social media company is shutting down Partner Categories, a feature that allows third-party data brokers "targeting options" based on preferences and personal characteristics. Ars Technica reported that users who checked data gathered by Facebook on them found that it had years of contact names, telephone numbers, call lengths and text messages.

Such statements seem to contradict comments made on March 22 by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, either showing an ostensible disconnect in leadership's views moving forward, or a very quick change in approach.

"The agency has a fair amount of latitude to turn the screws up", said David Vladeck, the former head of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection who signed the consent order which binds Facebook for 20 years. Playboy says the alleged data mismanagement is the last straw.




Shares in Acxiom traded down more than 10 percent to $25 after Facebook's announcement after the bell. Playboy Enterprises Inc. says it will deactivate the accounts that it manages directly.

Facebook has announced updates to its privacy settings to further help people understand the choices they have over their data on Facebook, and put them in more control over their privacy. And it plans to launch a public archive of elections-related ads by the summer that will include details such as how much money was spent on each of them and the demographics of their targeted audience. Zuckerberg is aware there is intense pressure on him to testify, this person says. From this page, Facebook users download the data they have shared with the platform and can also delete things they have shared in the past. To ensure the data is not downloaded by anyone but the user of the account, Facebook will first send a confirmation email with the download link to the linked email account. Facebook is trying to make it clearer, visual and easy-to-find.

In addition to redesigning its settings menu on mobile devices, Facebook said it is creating a new privacy shortcut menu where users would be able to better secure their accounts and control personal information.

Social-media users have long known that Facebook knows a lot about them.

In the 2011 case, the agency alleged in an eight-count draft complaint that Facebook had broken its promise that users could keep their information on Facebook private.

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