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Amid WhatsApp Privacy Row and iOS 14 Security Prompt, Facebook Revamps 'Access Your Info' Tool

Amid WhatsApp Privacy Row and iOS 14 Security Prompt, Facebook Revamps 'Access Your Info' Tool

The Access Your Information tool on Facebook now has eight categories, further sub-categories, better explanations and a search bar, among other things.

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Shouvik Das

The Facebook group is hardly a stranger to persistent issues of privacy. Over the past few weeks, it came up with full-page ads claiming to be an advocate for small businesses and speaking up against Apple’s clearly pro-privacy move with iOS 14’s new data collection and permission prompt. Now, the Mark Zuckerberg-led group found itself in hot waters yet again after its personal communications app, WhatsApp, announced a policy change that in effect opened a can of worms about how the entire web of Facebook collects and shares user data at will. Almost as if in response to all this, Facebook yesterday issued an update to its privacy transparency tool, Access Your Information.

The update is a rather extensive one, too. After launching in 2018 in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytics data scandal involving almost 87 million users, Facebook initially set up its user information access tool with two categories – Your Information, and Information About You. Through its efforts, Facebook wanted to convince its users that they can clearly see all and any piece of information that it knew about them, and even delete them from the platform should they not wish to have anyone else access it. Now, the new update increases the total number of categories in Access Your Information to eight, and these include Your Activity Across Facebook, Friends and Followers, Preferences, Personal Information, Logged Information, Ads Information, Apps and Websites Off Facebook, and Security and Login Information.

Within these categories are further subcategories that are divided down into simpler elements, which will seemingly make it much easier for all users to find exactly what they were looking for. There is also a search bar on top, where you can enter keywords to search the right setting that you want to analyse. To add to this, Facebook is taking the effort to explain in each sub-category which that data of yours is with them, all in a bid to come across as ‘transparent’.

While the new Access Your Information interface is indeed easier to navigate, the move doesn’t really allay concerns about the inter-web of linked data collection about users from all platforms that Facebook has successfully weaved. Earlier, towards the end of 2020, an independent audit done in the shape of Facebook’s first transparency report found the company to be “too reactive” in terms of acting on issues related to data collection, privacy and related fields.

That Facebook desperately attempted to convince everyone how Apple’s iOS 14 privacy and permission prompt was bad for users did not do much to instil confidence in the company, either. Even now, as conversations around WhatsApp’s privacy related concerns are surfacing, the Facebook-owned company is resolute at sticking to explaining how communications on the app are secure.


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