Facebook adjusts privacy settings for users

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Amid scandals, Facebook announced it would be changing the structure of its privacy settings to make it easier for users to access them.

"These updates are about transparency - not about gaining new rights to collect, use, or share data", a spokesperson said in a Facebook blog post. Facebook makes money by, among other things, harvesting user data and sharing it with app developers and advertisers.

"The biggest difference is ease of access in settings, which fulfills Mark Zuckerberg's promise to make the privacy process and permissions more transparent to users", Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter said.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress about the incident. Facebook announced the redesign on Wednesday, March 28, 2018.

The new home devices are part of Facebook's plan to become more intimately involved with users' everyday social lives, using artificial intelligence - following a path forged by Amazon.com Inc. and its Echo in-home smart speakers.

"I think if Facebook would have spent 10 percent of this money on data protection issues, maybe the loss wouldn't have been", she said. "There are several problems and one needs to address operationally what Facebook is doing to provide confidence that personal data is protected". That data, generated over years of games and personality quizzes that had access to private information, is largely still stored outside of Facebook's grasp by the private individuals and companies that built those applications.

The Facebook data leak has triggered an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission, which is now looking into the company's privacy practices. Nonetheless, it underscores a key concern of both Facebook and its investors: how to keep people from deleting their accounts over what many see as a betrayal of customers' trust.

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Facebook said in a statement on Monday that the company remains "strongly committed" to protecting people's information and that it welcomes the opportunity to answer the FTC's questions.

So far, Facebook has only made a few tiny tweaks in response to the Cambridge Analytica crisis.

Facebook has for years given advertisers the option of targeting their ads based on data collected by companies such as Acxiom Corp and Experian PLC.

"We've created a monster", said Juli Hinds, Ph.D., Medaille College communications and sports management assistant professor.

"I think, certainly, what's clear over the past week or so is that we've lost a lot of trust and we have to do some work to regain it, and that's something I think all of us at Facebook have internalized and are working really hard to do".

Meanwhile, state attorneys general asked Zuckerberg for an update on how Facebook will allow users to control the privacy of their accounts more easily.

Facebook's stock, which already took a big hit last week, fell Monday after the FTC announcement but recovered by the end of the day.

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