Facebook Redesigns Settings Page, Scatters Privacy Options

The update started rolling out August 4

Facebook announced on Wednesday it has started rolling out a redesign of its Settings page, claiming it wants to "make…tools easier to find."

This new redesign has led some, like tech news site TechCrunch, to be skeptical about Facebook's goals. TechCrunch pointed out that Facebook made a 2018 decision to make privacy tools easier to find by centralizing them into Privacy Shortcuts. The new direction makes it seem that Facebook has gone back on that earlier decision.

Teen on smartphone searching for settings

The new location of the privacy settings is unknown, and TechCrunch points out that users will have to scour through the new settings menu to figure out how to configure privacy.

The Settings redesign also has relocated several other settings so they are alongside related topics. Settings will now be grouped into six different categories: Account, Preferences, Audience, Visibility, Permissions, Your Information, and Community Standards and Legal Policies.

For example, the News Feed will now be under Preferences. Facebook claims it also has improved its Settings search function to make finding certain configurations easier.

According to Facebook, the new categories were created and named to closely resemble "people’s mental models," referring to what category a user would think of when searching for a specific setting. This decision was made based on data from TTC Labs, an online data resource owned by Facebook.

Facebook redesigned settings page.


Facebook did create a “Privacy Checkup” shortcut that will be located at the top right corner of the new landing page for easy access to privacy settings.

TechCrunch theorizes the redesign is a way to push people away from those privacy settings. A study published in 2018 by the Norwegian Consumer Council details the ways tech companies like Facebook redirect people away from privacy and manipulate them into giving up sensitive data.

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