Commentary

Facebook Trying To Regain User Trust With New Tool

Continuing to focus on user privacy, Facebook just unveiled “Off-Facebook Activity” -- a tool designed to help users control how the social giant tracks their activity around the broader Web.

Signaling the significance of the news, Mark Zuckerberg took it upon himself to introduce the privacy tool this week.

“Other businesses send us information about your activity on their sites and we use that information to show you ads that are relevant to you,” Facebook’s co-founder and CEO noted in a new blog post. “Now you can see a summary of that information and clear it from your account if you want to.”

Bigger picture, Zuckerberg said offering stronger privacy protections was one of Facebook’s top priorities over the next decade.

Sounding somewhat contrite, Zuckerberg admitted: “We know we have a lot of work to do here.”

Indeed, the tech titan has struggled to regain users’ trust since the Cambridge Analytica story broke 2018.

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In fact, Forrester Research just recently named Facebook as one of most poorly managed brands of 2019 -- in large part due of its continued unwillingness to take responsibility for its misuse of user data.

Failing to do so has “hemorrhaged the brand’s public trust,” in the words of Dipanjan Chatterjee, principal analyst at Forrester.

Yet Zuckerberg contends that offering new tools like Off-Facebook Activity represent steps in the right direction.

"Off-Facebook Activity marks a new level of transparency and control,” according to Zuckerberg.

As part of the “Off-Facebook Activity” rollout, Facebook plans to show nearly 2 billion users a prompt encouraging them to review their privacy setting over the next few weeks.

The prompt should show up in their News Feeds, and direct them to a “Privacy Checkup” tool, which Facebook recently updated.

With the update, Zuckerberg said the “Checkup” tool now makes it easier to adjust privacy settings, like who can see a user’s posts and profile information.
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