Facebook’s battered shares, which have dropped 17% in the past week and a half amid the Cambridge Analytica scandal, have gotten off to a strong start this morning after the company announced changes to its privacy settings.
In the first hour of trading, the stock rose more than 2% and reached its intraday high of $155.78 a share. It then settled into a less exciting range, closing the session up a fraction as tech stocks overall took a beating and the tech-heavy Nasdaq had its second straight day in the red. After surging to a 52-week high of $195 in January, Facebook shares have retreated to levels where they traded last July, shaving off some $80 billion in market capitalization.
The company announced the much-anticipated changes to its data and privacy stance in a blog post bearing the blunt headline, “It’s Time to Make Our Privacy Settings Easier to Find.” Adjustments to the tools will make it easier for users to find and adjust their privacy settings, the company said. Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been hounded by lawmakers and the press after it was revealed that Facebook obtained personal data from more than 50 million users, via research firm Cambridge Analytica.
“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,” the blog post said. “We’ve heard loud and clear that privacy settings and other important tools are too hard to find and that we must do more to keep people informed.”
The platform has added a “privacy shortcuts” menu, which allows users to access their personal data and even delete it if they so choose, as well as fine-tuning the advertising they encounter. Additional security options, including “two-factor authentication,” have also been implemented.
“We’ve worked with regulators, legislators and privacy experts on these tools and updates,” the company said in the unsigned blog post. “We’ll have more to share in the coming weeks, including updates on the measures Mark shared last week.”