Facebook unveils privacy and security tool in wake of outcry

Facebook unveils privacy and security tool in wake of outcry
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Facebook said Wednesday that it is rolling out a new tool to centralize user privacy and security settings following the outcry over its data collection practices.

The company said users will be able to make changes from a single page instead of having options spread across nearly two dozen screens on different parts of the platform. Facebook plans to roll out the change in the coming weeks.

Facebook users will be able to adjust an array of privacy settings on the page for the information that they’ve given the platform, like their interests, and their activity on Facebook, such as liking photos and commenting on friends' statuses.

Users will also be able to more easily see what data can and can’t be shared with apps.

The new page comes as a response to the massive backlash since it revealed that Cambridge Analytica, which has been linked to the Trump campaign and the Brexit vote in the U.K., had taken the data of 50 million Facebook users without their permission. 

Lawmakers and members of the public have criticized Facebook for the volume of data it collects on its users and how few controls it has over how third parties use the data.

“Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data,” wrote Erin Egan, Facebook vice president and chief privacy officer of policy, and Ashlie Beringer, Facebook vice president and deputy general counsel.

“We’re taking additional steps in the coming weeks to put people more in control of their privacy. Most of these updates have been in the works for some time, but the events of the past several days underscore their importance,” they wrote.

Facebook said it plans to announce new policy changes in the coming weeks covering what data it collects and how it uses it.

Mark ZuckerbergMark Elliot ZuckerbergOn The Money: Trump downplays urgency of China trade talks | Chinese negotiators cut US trip short in new setback | Trump sanctions Iran's national bank | Survey finds Pennsylvania, Wisconsin lost the most factory jobs in past year Hillicon Valley: Lawmakers say Zuckerberg to 'cooperate' on antitrust probes | Dems see victory after McConnell backs election security funds | Twitter takes down fake pro-Saudi accounts Lawmakers say Zuckerberg has agreed to 'cooperate' with antitrust probe MORE has also promised a set of new changes to the platform in response to backlash over Cambridge Analytica. The Facebook CEO said that, among other changes, Facebook will reduce the amount of data third-party developers have access to, and audit developers that have had access to large amounts of Facebook data.

The social media company is currently facing intense scrutiny from lawmakers on the matter. The Senate Judiciary and House Energy and Commerce committees have both formally invited Zuckerberg to publicly testify before legislators. Lawmakers in other committees have also called for Zuckerberg to testify.

Zuckerberg has reportedly decided that he will make the trip to Washington to appear before Congress.