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Facebook to change privacy controls

March 28, 2018

The social network has said the changes will give users more control over their data. Among the measures is a new privacy shortcut menu that will allow people to quickly increase the security of an account.

A figurine is seen in front of the Facebook logo
Image: Reuters/D. Ruvic

Facebook said on Wednesday it was planning to revamp its privacy settings in an effort to give users more control over their data.

The social network is under fire after a whistleblower revealed that consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica misused information from more than 50 million Facebook accounts to influence close elections in Britain and the United States. Facebook has lost $100 billion in market value since the scandal broke.

Read moreWhat role did Cambridge Analytica play in the Brexit vote?

"The last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and to help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data," Erin Egan, vice president and chief privacy officer, and Ashlie Beringer, vice president and deputy general counsel at Facebook, wrote in a post.

"In addition to Mark's [Zuckerberg, Facebook's CEO] announcements last week – cracking down on abuse of the Facebook platform, strengthening our policies, and making it easier for people to revoke apps' ability to use your data – we're taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people in more control over their privacy," the two said.

Read moreFacebook's Cambridge Analytica data scandal: What you need to know

'Privacy shortcuts' menu

Facebook will add a new Privacy shortcuts menu that will allow users to easily increase account security and control their data.

"You can review what you've shared and delete it if you want to. This includes posts you've shared or reacted to, friend requests you've sent, and things you've searched for on Facebook," Egan and Beringer wrote.

The proposed changes will also include features enabling users to download their data and move it to another service. Users will also be able to manage advertisements they see.

EU data protection law

The measures come ahead of the EU data protection law in May, which makes it incumbent on companies to give people a right to take their data with them.

Breaking the law — EU General Data Protection Regulation — can cost companies up to 4 percent of global revenues.

There has been a growing demand from lawmakers across world that Facebook explains how it uses and protects users' data. Zuckerberg is due to testify before the US Congress to explain how UK-based Cambridge Analytica managed to harvest personal data of Facebook users.

ap/sms (Reuters, AFP)

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