Facebook Users increase, New Data Privacy Feature Unveiled

  • The combined number of users on all of its platforms is 2.89 billion, according to the latest statistics reveal.
  • It earned $ 7.3 billion in the fourth quarter.
  • Facebook users can now delete their user-data.

Facebook continues to attract a huge number of users and revenues despite the mélange of controversies surrounding the company. It currently faces a list of criticisms, from its poor private user data management policies to its handling of political advertisements. Despite this, the social media giant has ironically seen the number of monthly active users increase during the fourth quarter by 8 percent. It subsequently reached the 2.5 billion user milestone by the end of 2019.

Criticism of Facebook has led to international media coverage and significant reporting of its legal troubles and the outsize influence it has on the lives and health of its users and employees, as well on its influence on the way media, specifically news, is reported and distributed. Facebook has been criticized for not doing enough to limit the spread of fake news stories on their site, especially after the 2016 United States presidential election.

The number represents the number of people who use the platform at least once a month. The combined number of users on all of its platforms is 2.89 billion, according to the latest statistics reveal. Since Facebook’s business model is based on the collection of personal information for advertiser targeting purposes, this continuous progression is significant.

34 Percent Increase In Spending

The Facebook group earned $7.3 billion from October to December 2019, up 7 percent from a year earlier, and saw its revenues jump 25 percent to $21.1 billion within the same period. But the amount it spent on its platforms soared by 34 percent to $12.2 billion in the fourth quarter, putting pressure on profit margins.

Facebook has invested heavily in measures that help restore trust in its platforms. This is after a flurry of data leakage scandals, and disinformation campaigns carried out on its platforms. According to its latest report, it increased the number of employees last year to 44,942. This is a 26 percent increase from the previous year.

Facebook Releases New Privacy Function

Facebook has faced a steady stream of controversies over how it protects user privacy, repeatedly adjusting its privacy settings and policies. Most recently, on 4 April 2019, half a billion records of Facebook users were found exposed on Amazon cloud servers, containing information about users’ friends, likes, groups, and checked-in locations, as well as “names, passwords and email addresses.

Facebook has introduced a new data privacy enhancement feature, which enables users to see what data the company and its advertising partners have collected. Users now have the option of deleting this information, which includes data from third-party providers.

The logs include how often a person uses certain services, checks out specific products or content, and whether he or she buys something. Facebook then uses this data to target users with advertising content. Parts of this stored data can now be viewed by users in their profile settings. Facebook, however, does not provide full transparency.

The company writes that for technical reasons, not all data can be displayed. Some providers are also prohibited from sharing confidential information. As such, deleting the data is only possible to a certain extent.

“We prohibit businesses or organizations to share sensitive information with us, such as health and financial information, your date of birth and passwords. If we determine that a business or an organization is violating our terms, we will take action against that business or organization.” Ultimately, users have the option of decoupling the information connected to their Facebook profile, but the data is still anonymously available to the company. That said, however, the move is still a major step towards greater transparency.

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Samuel Gush

Samuel Gush is a Technology, Entertainment, and Political News writer at Communal News.

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