These are cosmetic changes, but might help Facebook appease regulators.
One of the issues with the way that tech companies like Facebook collect personal data from people is that they often make it hard for those people to understand what they’re collecting, and how to control it.
So in the wake of the company’s recent Cambridge Analytica privacy debacle, Facebook is trying to make that experience less confusing.
The social giant rolled out a new settings page for its mobile app on Wednesday, and also added a new dashboard called “Access Your Information” where users can find all the stuff they’ve handed over to Facebook, like photos and comments and messages, in one place.
The changes are cosmetic — Facebook isn’t the changing the way it collects your data. And all of this information was available to users before, it was just scattered and buried in different pages that made it tougher to collect.
“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,” the company wrote in a blog post published Wednesday morning.
So while this update may seem rather trivial — the dashboard that shows you how much we know about you looks prettier! — the changes could also help Facebook appease regulators in Europe and potential regulators in the U.S.
New privacy laws from the E.U. will soon require data companies make it easy and clear for consumers to understand what the companies are collecting and how to delete it. You could argue that Facebook’s previous settings and policies weren’t doing that. It’ll be harder to argue that now.
This won’t be the last change Facebook makes thanks to Cambridge Analytica. Facebook also wrote on its blog that it plans to simplify the language for its terms of service, and will “also update our data policy to better spell out what data we collect and how we use it.”