If you logged into Facebook recently and were welcomed by an unusual notification that redirected you to take a look at your ‘privacy’ setting. Worry not, you are not alone. In light of the recent privacy scandal where pro-Donald Trump data firm Cambridge Analytica misused user data to develop political tools, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced a series of changes to the social network and how data is handled on it.
Some of the major changes announced recently include the limited access developers will have to user data, easy discoverability of the settings for a user on the News Feed, simplified terms of service, and more. The purpose is simple – to assure the millions of daily users that they also have control over their data, and that Facebook continues to access some amount of it for ad revenue. Here’s a look at some of the biggest changes made to Facebook in years:
Simplifying language: One of the first changes Facebook has introduced is tweaking the language of its policies to make it easier for you to understand the terms of its services. The complex language is one of the reasons why we are unable to understand how much we end up agreeing to when we sign up for a new app or service.
Tweaks to Data policy: Facebook stresses that your data will never be sold to anyone. The new policy mentions clearly that a user has control over the ads that they see. The policy extends to other Facebook-owned services including WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and other products. You will also see more details on the information being collected when you use these synced products.
Audit of apps: Facebook has announced that it will be conducting an audit of all apps that had access to large amounts of data before 2014 when the company reduced developers' access to the data.
Easy access to settings: Starting this week, users have started receiving prompts on revising their apps and services settings to remove access if required. The notification is shown right at the beginning of the News Feed redirecting you to Apps and Websites section in the settings and checking for the access they have to your information.
Change in APIs: Among other tweaks, Facebook has imposed significant restrictions to a number of APIs including Events, Pages, Groups, and Instagram APIs. Access to these APIs is shut off to new developers, those who already have access will require to go through formal app review, and apps will no longer have access to the guest list of an event or posts written by attendees