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Facebook's New Privacy Tools: What You Need to Know

As a part of the damage control for its Cambridge Analytica data harvesting scandal, Facebook recently rolled out redesigned privacy shortcuts that it announced last month. Here's what you need to know.

The primary upside of this new interface appears to be a cleaning-up of Facebook's byzantine series of menus, consolidating a dense 20 screens down to one. The change was announced in a blog post attributed to Erin Egan, VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy and Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel, which noted that these changes would be released in the "coming weeks."

MORE: The Quick and Dirty Facts About Facebook and Cambridge Analytica

While making these tools easier to find may help users struggling with navigating the app, their updates are cosmetic. Now, once you tap the Menu button (the right-most tab in the Facebook iOS app), you'll see a new menu of larger, brighter icons, including the "Settings and Privacy" button near the bottom of the list. Tapping on that unveils another list of options, including Privacy Shortcuts, which is what you're looking for.

The Privacy Shortcuts menu collects a bunch of pre-existing features, such as the Privacy Checkup, editing your trail of activity — under "Where do I review who can see things I've posted or been tagged in? — and examining Facebook's Data Policy.

To edit the list of apps that can access your Facebook account, tap on Privacy Checkup. After you pick the default post privacy and profile info, you'll see the list of apps that connect to your profile, all of which have giant X's to remove them.

One semi-new feature coming to help users rein in the data Facebook stores is a new user interface called Access Your Information, which will present all the data in your account in a more visually clear manner, and give options to edit and delete. This sounds like the account data downloads where Android users have discovered that Facebook's kept records of who they're calling.

The announcement post claims that "Most of these updates have been in the works for some time," and that "the events of the past several days underscore their importance." It appears that Facebook's of the opinion that making it easier for users to manage their information may take some of the privacy burden off the company, and appease any users thinking about deleting their accounts.

Henry T. Casey

Henry is an editor writer at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and Apple. Prior to joining Tom's Guide — where he's the self-described Rare Oreo Expert — he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. You can find him at your local pro wrestling events, and looking for the headphone adapter that he unplugged from his iPhone.