Facebook focusing on better transparency and control for users

It is encouraged that users review certain features at the Settings to have better control over their information in 3rd-party apps and websites


FACEBOOK Inc is taking steps to ensure transparency on personal information and data as well as giving users control over it, Facebook Asia-Pacific privacy and public policy manager Arianne Jimenez (picture) said.

“What we’re focusing now is what improvements we have to make after the incident (Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Ltd data scandal) to make sure that we can strengthen the trust we have with the users and rebuild that trust,” she said during a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

Jimenez said the company has taken several measures to improve user privacy by having stricter app and platform controls which will significantly limit the information that other apps and websites can access on the social network website.

“Other steps taken are making sure we’ve been investigating apps that have access to large amounts of information in the past. We have investigated thousands, suspended hundreds and we have banned apps because they have misused personal information. We are cracking down on them to make sure that this type of abuse doesn’t happen again.

“One commitment we’ve made is that when people delete something from Facebook, that information is also deleted from our servers,” she added.

Additionally, Facebook encourages users to review certain features at the Settings, so they can have better control over their information in third-party apps and websites.

Through the Apps and Websites section at the Settings, users will see the information that they share with third-party apps and websites that they’ve logged into using via “Facebook Login”. The feature also allows users to manage and revoke permissions, and delete these apps completely.

Facebook has also built a new tool that was rolled out in three countries last year and will be having a global rollout soon.

The Off-Facebook Activity let users see the information that other apps and websites share with Facebook. Users can disconnect their personal information from their Facebook account, to which Facebook will not be able to know which apps or websites they visited and won’t be able to target ads to users base on the activity they’ve been conducting.

“This feature will have a business impact but when we’re talking about privacy, it’s about providing better transparency and better control for our users such as making Settings more accessible and building these tools to make sure that you know how to manage your information,” said Jimenez.

When asked about what sort of information does Facebook share with law enforcement and governments, Jimenez said the company is transparent with the process.

“Our policy clearly outlines what we do when we receive requests from governments asking for access to data. As for how much data we provide, that varies per country and that’s why we have to be transparent about it,” she added.

According to its latest Government Requests for User Data report, the Malaysian government has made a total of 37 requests, of which 22 requests for legal process and 15 requests for emergency. The government has also made 46 requests for certain users or accounts.

In comparison to its neighbour, the Singaporean government has made 305 requests for legal process, 10 requests for emergency and 395 requests for certain users and accounts.