Facebook has been under heavy fire in the last couple of weeks after a story broke about a company who obtained 50 million users personal information from the site.

Since this story broke, Facebook has lost close to $80bn (€64bn) off it’s market value since the 16th of March. Mark Zuckerberg has embarked on an apology tour of sorts, taking out a full-page advert on The Observer in England, as well as doing numerous TV interviews across America. “This was a breach of trust, and I’m sorry we didn’t do more at the time” he has said multiple times.

Cambridge Analytica, (the company that obtained the users personal data) got the information from an academic researcher’s personality prediction app. The app was downloaded by 270,000 people, but also gathered their friends’ data without consent – as was possible under Facebook’s rules at the time.

Facebook have now been forced to make radical changes to their privacy settings following the public outcry . They have made it clearer what information companies are able to access from users. They have also created privacy shortcuts which will make it easier for the user to increase the security on their personal info. Photos and posts are now easier to review and take down if desired.

The main changes are displayed below;

  • “simplified” settings menu. At present mobile users have 17 options on a confusing list that’s difficult to work and understand. The new version regroups the controls and adds descriptions to make it clearer what each involves.
  • New privacy shortcuts menu. The dashboard brings together what the firm believes are the most critical controls into a single place. It suggests this will make it faster for people to do things such as review the posts they have shared or reacted to, and to limit the information used to target ads at them.
  • Revised data download and edit tools. A new page called Access Your Information allows users to review past interactions with the site – including the things they have “liked” and the comments they have posted – with the option to make deletions.

Facebook has had to change how it manages user’s information on its site. This scandal has led to many people deleting their Facebook account after the movement #DeleteFacebook started trending on social media. Facebook has taken a huge hit to its brand, and it might not be over just yet as the fallout will probably continue over the next few weeks.

John McAuliffe