Facebook presented the outline of a future update of its service which should allow its members to more easily access control tools concerning their personal data. An update announced in full Cambridge Analytica case and while a new regulation unfolds in Europe.
Facebook could not do otherwise. With the imminent application of the General Data Protection Regulation and the recent scandal arising from press reports about the practices of the British company Cambridge Analytica, the social network had to react other than by a public apology because Strong actions are expected on the merits.
This British company is accused of having sucked large amounts of personal data belonging to members of Facebook, via a third party application, for political purposes. However, the purposes of this collection were never clearly mentioned beforehand. Facebook had already begun to provide answers to these expectations.
First on his profile and then in the media, Mark Zuckerberg and spoke about how he intended to prevent a new hijacking of the site by giving the tracks that his group intends to follow internally, such as recruiting, and saying open to d other measures, but not within its purview, as a regulation of the advertising market.
The response from the social network continues this time with a speech by Erin Egan, the Privacy Officer on Facebook, and Ashlie Beringer, her Deputy General Counsel,
"Last week showed how much work remains to be done to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and what data options are available to them. We have heard clearly that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we need to do more to keep the public informed. "
For example, from the mobile application of Facebook, members of the social network will now have all the settings together on one page instead of having to go through twenty or so different screens to set everything up. It should be noted that this is not a measure taken in response to the Cambridge Analytica case: indeed, this simplified dashboard was already mentioned at the end of January by the group.
"Most of these updates have been underway for some time, but the events of the last days underline the importance," admit Erin Egan and Ashlie Beringer. It is unclear when Facebook originally intended to make these changes. One thing is for sure, the social network announced them in full scandal on Cambridge Analytica and can present them as another facet of its answer.
It is also planned to create, in the menu of the site, a shortcut allowing quick access to the options on the protection of the account (to add security layers, such as double authentication), on the personalization of the targeted advertisements and their operation as well as on the confidentiality of social network publications (who can see what, in short).
On the data of the users strictly speaking, Facebook indicates also announcements of interface modifications to facilitate the management of its information, whether to find them, to visualize them, to download them (to export them elsewhere, by example) or to delete them, simply. "These are your data, after all," say the social network representatives.
The arrival of the General Data Protection Regulation is also a driving force pushing Facebook to adjust its policy. The US company estimates that it will be ready for D-Day, May 25. Heavy administrative fines could otherwise fall on him.Après 14 years of existence, it is good that Facebook realizes it.
"We will update our data policy to better specify what data we collect and how we use it. These updates are about transparency, not about getting new rights to collect, use or share data, "says Erin Egan and Ashlie Beringer. However, no question of giving up personal data, the black gold of our time.
At the beginning of the year, Mark Zuckerberg launched himself as a personal challenge to repair Facebook. The site promises to be pharaonic.
To read on Numerama: The challenge of Mark Zuckerberg in 2018? Repair Facebook