Facebook will let you delete some of your information
SHAKEN by the worldwide backlash to its data-harvesting scandal, Facebook has revealed it will help users delete their information from the social network, including phone call logs and photographs, in a major revamp of its privacy settings.
The redesigned menus, rolled out in "the coming weeks," will stop short of spelling out what information Facebook is actually collecting from its users, however, and will come as chief executive Mark Zuckerberg testifies before US Congress about the Cambridge Analytica scandal that saw the personal details of 50 million unwitting Facebook users sold and used in political campaigns.
Mr Zuckerberg also refused to appear before a British parliamentary inquiry into the same issue in a move one politician labelled "astonishing".
Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan said the upcoming changes to its settings had been in development for some time but were unveiled late on Wednesday after "last week showed how much more work we need to do" to inform Facebook users about "the choices they have over their data".
"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," she said in a statement.
Ms Egan said Facebook's current privacy settings were spread across 20 different menus and would be consolidated into one screen where users could specify who saw their posts, control the advertisements Facebook showed them, and delete information they had shared with Facebook.
This could include extensive logs of phone calls and text messages after it was revealed Facebook recorded the communications of millions of Android Messenger app users from as far back as 2015.
The new "Access Your Information" setting would also let users delete "posts, reactions and comments, and things you've searched for".
Ms Egan said the social network, which boasts more than 2.2 million monthly active users, would also more clearly spell out "what data we collect and how we use it," but could not say when this would happen.
Mr Zuckerberg will answer questions about its data-gathering practices and Cambridge Analytica privacy breach before a US Congress committee next month, according to a CNN report, but he has refused to appear before a British inquiry into "fake news," instead sending the company's chief product officer, which committee chairman Damian Collins called "astonishing".
Facebook is also facing an investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission, questions from the Australian Information Commissioner, and four lawsuits following revelations data firm Cambridge Analytica bought personal information on 50 million Facebook users to create targeted political advertisements.