On 9th April, Facebook will provide a link at the top of News Feed. Click that link and you’ll see a comprehensive breakdown of which third party apps you’re using, and what information has been shared with those apps. Through that link, you’ll also be able to find out if your information was shared with Cambridge Analytica, either because you used the app associated with the breach or one of your friends did.
Facebook announced this forthcoming function today as the company continues the complicated process of rebuilding trust with users. Last week, Facebook announced new privacy and data controls. This week, there’s a revamped data policy and terms of service, as well as new data restrictions. Here are the most important takeaways.
Facebook is putting stricter controls on what information the developers behind third-party apps can access. Third-party apps will no longer be able to see event guest lists or posts on an event wall. Member lists for groups and any personal information from group members, such as names and profile photos, will also be off limits.
Call and text history, an opt-in feature on Messenger for Android users, allows Facebook to put your most frequently contacted friends at the top of your contacts list. Facebook is not getting rid of this feature, but says users will no longer need to provide "broader data such as the time of calls" to take part. In other words, any information that isn't required for the feature to work won't be collected.
Additionally, third party apps will need to go through a stricter approval process if they want to see information such as "check-ins, likes, photos, posts, videos, events and groups" in the first place. While this review process has existed since 2014, it's tightening up and apps won't even have the option to ask for personal data, including your "religious or political views, relationship status and details, custom friends lists, education and work history".
Having stronger checks in place is a good thing, but it's worth noting that apps you have previously logged into with Facebook may experience some glitches as the changes roll out. (Such has been the case for Tinder users.)
The Data Policy
The Cambridge Analytica scandal has raised a lot of important privacy questions: What kind of information does Facebook have? And, more importantly, how is it using your data? These questions (and more) are addressed in the updated Data Policy.
Many of the answers won't come as a shock — yes, Facebook collects information about the purchases you make on the platform — but reading the policy is an important reminder that a lot of data is associated with your account. For example, in addition to the information you knowingly share in your profile, Facebook collects information about what "posts, videos and other content you view" and how you interact with pages, other accounts, and groups.
The Terms of Service
Facebook's Terms of Service used to be complicated and tiresome to get through. The new Terms attempt to clarify the basics of what Facebook offers and what you're committing to when you log in to your account. While there are no major revelations here, it's worth a read.