Facebook adjusted its privacy settings page today, following the current Cambridge Analytica data scandal. The most obvious thing is that the privacy settings page now includes shortcuts with images for easy navigation, especially on mobile devices. Users can enable two-factor authentication, control what they share or have shared, manage who can see their posts, and get more information about their ad preferences.
The company is also launching a new page called "Access your information", in which users can further evaluate the information they have shared and manage it. From there, they can remove anything from their timeline or profile that they do not want on Facebook.
None of these characteristics is new; they simply make data management easier to analyze and more accessible. It's nice to see Facebook's attempt to publicize privacy settings that most people are probably unaware of, even if it does not really change the way the company does business. Reminder: if you are not paying for a service like Facebook, you are the product and are selling ads based on your data.
Facebook says that it has been working on these updates for "some time", but it made the launch faster after the Cambridge Analytica scandal. (You can catch up with that here). I will summarize, however: Facebook used to allow application developers to access a large amount of user data, even without the permission of those users. This information was used, in this case, to build personality profiles of millions of people. Those profiles were used for the political orientation of advertisements that could have influenced elections around the world.
The announcement addressed to Facebook is not exclusive to the company. The business model is applied on the Web, but this scandal speaks more to the fact that many people have no idea how data collection and ad targeting work. You probably can not find these privacy settings that Facebook is adjusting. If you are worried that Facebook will know everything about you, your friends, your family and strangers, stop using the service, including WhatsApp and Instagram. That is the last privacy trick.