Facebook makes privacy settings easier to find

As EU privacy rules tighten, social network announces move on Data Privacy Day

Facebook is making it easier for users to find privacy settings, establishing a new privacy centre in an effort to give users more control of their information.

The new centre, which will contain the core privacy settings in a single place, has been designed based on feedback from users, privacy experts and policymakers.

"Privacy controls are only powerful if you know how to find and use them," Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, said in a blog post.

Facebook made the announcement as part of Data Privacy Day, and ahead of the implementation of General Data Protection Guidelines (GDPR) in Europe.


Facebook's privacy manager Emily Sharpe said the social network was taking the new regulations very seriously. The implementation of the GDPR may also lead to further employment at its Irish base, with the company already recruiting to grow its data protection team in Dublin.

“We’re currently looking to expand the team,” Ms Sharpe said.

Education campaign

In addition to the privacy centre, the social network is also pushing ahead with a new education campaign to help users understand how data is used on Facebook and how it can be managed. It is also sharing the company’s privacy principles that, it says, underpin all its product development.

It's the first time, in a single day, that we're asking everyone across the EU to check their privacy settings

A number of videos on privacy essentials will appear in users’ Facebook feeds, educating users on what information Facebook uses to show you ads, how to review and delete old posts, and what it means to delete your account.

Facebook is also asking people to take its privacy check-up, which helps users understand what they are sharing with others, and how to change those settings if necessary. Privacy check was introduced in 2014.

“It’s the first time, in a single day, that we’re asking everyone across the EU to check their privacy settings,” Ms Sharpe said.

The company says it is also hosting workshops on data protection, and continues to host its Design Jam events to encourage designers, developers, privacy experts and regulators to create new ways of educating people on privacy and give them control of their information.

* This article was amended on January 29th

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist