Under heightened scrutiny over user privacy, Facebook has been taking steps to make it easier for people to manage how they share their data on the platform. Starting Monday, April 9, the social networking site promises that it will grant people more control over the third-party apps they use.
The changes come as more disturbing news about the site continues to emerge. This week, the company said that the data scandal involving a third-party app developer is much bigger than it previously disclosed.
Late last month, Facebook said that the personal information of 50 million people was accessed by a political analytics firm during the 2016 election cycle. On Wednesday, the Menlo Park, California-based company said that the data of as many as 87 million people “may have been improperly shared with Cambridge Analytica.”
The stunning admission shows that the social media site with nearly 2 billion users may not have a handle on what has come to be a widening controversy.
For its part, Cambridge Analytica denies that the data of that many unsuspecting users was harvested. In a statement to TechCrunch the company put the figure at “no more than 30 million.”
Facebook is giving users more control of their apps
Also on Wednesday, Facebook released a transcript of founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s remarks to journalists on user privacy and what the company is doing to address it.
He said that company executives were shepherding through a number of changes on the site, “including requiring apps you haven’t used in a while to get your authorization again before querying for more of your data.”
Facebook app controls: Here’s what users can expect to see
Here is what users can expect to see when they log onto their accounts in the coming days. As you can see below, a blue bar will be prominently displayed so that you can view which apps you have allowed to access your information.
Users can expect to see these two changes, among other tweaks:
- A link at the top of users’ News Feed that takes them to a central page to manage their apps
- Notifications from Facebook that it has removed apps or websites that no longer comply with its privacy standards
- Users will also be notified whether their data was shared with Cambridge Analytica
The new controls are desperately needed as Facebook has acknowledged that the majority of its users have likely had their data stolen. In a blog post this week, the company admitted: “Given the scale and sophistication of the activity we’ve seen, we believe most people on Facebook could have had their public profile scraped.”
While Facebook has been criticized for not properly safeguarding the personal info of millions of people, money expert Clark Howard says that users also have a great responsibility when it comes to what they share online.
The big scam right now is with “people gathering information that you have posted willingly on social media,” he says. Read about how criminals can access our information from social media and what you can do about it.