A look at Facebook's 'ugly' memo

Illustration by William Joel  The Verge

What new changes has Facebook introduced? "We run a much greater risk of stumbling on them later". Instead of having settings spread across almost 20 different screens, they're now accessible from a single place. The social network still has more than enough data on your interests and hobbies to target ads with precision. "Not one day goes by when I don't think about what it means for us to be the stewards of this community and their trust".

Dr. Brent Mittelstadt, a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute, said that some mixture of self-regulation and state regulation is necessary to avoid situations such as with Cambridge Analytica, where users' data was unknowingly used for political purposes. "We've heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find, and that we must do more to keep people informed", two Facebook executives wrote in a blogpost.

Malazita said the memo frames the discussion with the assumption that technology and connecting people is always positive.

Have you ever tried to delete your Facebook account, only for you to be redirected or persuaded into deactivating it? If you turn this on and someone tries to log into your account from a device we don't recognize, you'll be asked to confirm whether it was you. This includes posts users have shared or reacted to, friend requests sent, and things they have searched for on Facebook. Like Vero, it is promising to avoid advertising (and thus selling users' data), although in this case the chosen method is donations rather than subscriptions. Bosworth confirmed the memo's authenticity but in a statement he disavowed its message, saying its goal had been to encourage debate. "Ad preferences explain how ads work and the options you have", the duo said. They can easily show the users who might have their information with them already. "So in addition to Mark Zuckerberg's announcements last week - cracking down on abuse of the Facebook platform, strengthening our policies, and making it easier for people to revoke apps' ability to use your data - we're taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy", Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel said in a blog post.

Data violations were previously punishable by smaller fines, though the new law will allow authorities to wallop companies for up to 4% of global annual turnover - in Facebook's case, more than $1 billion.


Still, von Scheiner says the Cambridge Analytica story has made consumers more aware of how their data is being used.

In response, celebrities, executives and other Facebook users have started a movement to #DeleteFacebook. Mozilla, which makes the Firefox web browser, has just launched a Facebook Container Extension (a downloadable plug-in) that prevents Facebook from tracking you across other websites. But connecting people. That's our imperative.

If the thought of advertisers using that information rubs you the wrong way, all you have to do is click the "X" on the category to be removed from it. No wonder we don't know who is accessing the information. If you don't want to delete an app, you can change the privacy settings. At the bottom of that page there is a link called "Download a copy of your Facebook data".

Users on Facebook will now have the ability to adjust their privacy settings.

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