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Privacy, Data Woes Pile Up for Facebook and Google

As the fallout continues from recent news reports detailing how Facebook enabled “digital warfare” based on its users’ personal data, Google is also facing heat for the vast troves of information it collects about people.

Earlier this month, revelations emerged about Facebook’s role in making it possible for the U.K.-based political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to strategically target U.S. voters ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Cambridge Analytica worked for then-candidate and now-President Donald Trump.

The Observer and The New York Times have reported that the firm used data about at least 50 million Facebook users and their friends without their knowledge after wrongfully acquiring that information through a third-party app.

In the wake of those reports, Facebook has announced several changes to how it manages privacy and works with third-party app developers. Meanwhile, a report in The Guardian today revealed that Google also gathers details about users that go “far beyond what many of us could imagine.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been asked to testify before several U.S. Congressional committees, and similar invitations have gone out to Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

‘More Work To Do’

Facebook said in a news post yesterday that it was time to make their privacy tools easier to find. “Last week showed how much more work we need to do to enforce our policies and help people understand how Facebook works and the choices they have over their data,” wrote vice president and chief privacy officer Erin Egan and vice president and deputy general counsel Ashlie Beringer.

They said the company has updated its mobile device settings menu, added new privacy shortcuts, and created a new tool called “Access Your Information” to enable users to view and delete any data from their timelines or profiles. Egan and Beringer said…


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