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Facebook to overhaul privacy controls, won't change private policies

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(CBS 58/CBSNews) -- Facebook announced Wednesday an overhaul of its privacy controls to make them easier to use -- however, the changes won't affect Facebook's privacy policies or the types of data it gathers about its users.

Facebook has earned criticism for obtaining users' data through terms and conditions buried in fine print, and from which it is extremely hard to opt out, or to know that opting out might be advisable.

"The structure or hierarchy or architecture of Facebook is open," Milwaukee Area Technical College IT-Programming instructor Larry Domine said. "So that means that or what to consider is that everything you're doing defaults to being open and you have to close it down."

The policy changes will be made in the "coming weeks," according to a post on Facebook's blog.

Among those changes is a redesign of its privacy settings for mobile phones so that they'll appear on a single screen, instead of spread across 20 different screens. The service is also vowing to make it easier to find privacy, security and advertising information with a new Privacy Shortcuts menu.

The announcement comes amid growing criticism of Facebook's data-privacy policies following the revelations about Cambridge Analytica, which harvested data on as many as 50 million Facebook users for political messaging purposes.

It's unclear whether the changes will convince consumers who have deleted their Facebook accounts to return to the service, or whether it will assuage lawmakers and privacy advocates who have expressed concerns about Facebook's collection and use of personal data.

"We've heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find," said the post by chief privacy officer Erin Egan and deputy general counsel Ashlie Beringer. "In the coming weeks, we'll be proposing updates to Facebook's terms of service that include our commitments to people."


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