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Facebook Revamps Its Privacy Checkup Feature in Time for CES


Some tech giants are using this year’s CES conference in Las Vegas not to show off flashy gadgets but to promote protecting user privacy. Chief among them is Facebook, which is still working to regain user (and lawmaker) trust after a series of privacy scandals in recent years. The social network announced at the event Monday that it had overhauled its Privacy Checkup tool, which allows users to quickly tweak a range of data-sharing settings at once. The new interface rolls out to users globally starting today. It’s a great opportunity to check your Facebook privacy settings, especially if you haven’t done so recently.

When Privacy Checkup was first created in 2014, it focused on only three areas: who could see your posts, what kind of information was on your profile, and the third-party apps, such as mobile games, that had access to your Facebook data. The tool has now evolved to encompass eight different topics divided into four distinct areas. But it doesn’t cover many of the data collection abilities at the heart of Facebook’s past scandals. Unlike Google’s Privacy Checkup, the Facebook version is more about protecting your information from other people on Facebook, rather than limiting what the social network can collect about you in the first place or how it can use that data.

You can access Privacy Checkup by clicking the question mark icon on Facebook’s desktop site and selecting Privacy Checkup. The first section, Who Can See What You Share, is one of the most important. It’s the place to change whether sensitive information like your email address, phone number, birthday, hometown, or relationship status is visible to your Facebook friends, or even to the public internet, which it could be. You can also limit who can see your future posts, as well as update your block list.

Facebook’s new Privacy Checkup interface rolls out to users globally starting today.Photograph: Facebook

The other three sections, How to keep your account secure, How people can find you on Facebook, and Your data settings on Facebook, are all relatively short and will take less than one minute to review. They offer opportunities to update your password, adjust who can send you friend requests, and look at the third-party applications that have access to information from your Facebook profile. You may be surprised to find you gave a shopping site access to your data, for instance.



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