Facebook privacy settings finally get a long-needed update

Anyone who has ever attempted to delve into Facebook's settings menu knows what a nightmare it can be. Even Facebook itself is admitting today that its settings menu – spread out over a whopping 20 screens – is way too difficult to navigate. With that in mind (and prompted by the widespread backlash to the ongoing Cambridge Analytica scandal), Facebook is changing things for the better today.

Facebook announced today that it's making major changes to its settings menu and how you'll access your privacy settings. The first thing the company is doing is simplifying the settings menu on mobile. Facebook notes that all settings will now be accessible from a single menu, which means no more jumping between screens to find what you need.

That, as many mobile users already know, is a long overdue update, but Facebook isn't stopping there. You can see the differences between the old settings menu and the new one in the image above, and the new one looks drastically better. In that new menu, you'll see a sub-menu that holds various privacy shortcuts – another big feature in this update.

With those privacy shortcuts, you'll be able to do things like turn on two-factor authentication, which provides an additional layer of security to your account. You'll also be able to see what information you've shared – such as posts you've reacted to, friend requests you've sent, and your Facebook search history – and delete it if you prefer. This is also where you'll manage your ad preferences and the privacy settings of the posts you make to Facebook.

Perhaps the biggest part of this revamp is a new feature called "Access Your Information." This is meant to give you easy access to the posts and comments you've made, but you'll also be able to use Access Your Information to download and delete your Facebook data. Facebook, essentially, is giving you the tools to roll back the clock a bit if this scandal has left you thinking that maybe you've shared too much about yourself throughout the years.

Of course, now that we have the tools to easily delete old posts and information, the big question is whether or not that information is truly deleted from Facebook's servers or merely just hidden from sight. Facebook, as you might expect, doesn't actually cover that in today's announcement, so if you're wondering if Facebook holds onto your information even after you've deleted it, it's probably safe to assume it does.

Facebook has not been having a good time the past couple of weeks. The Cambridge Analytica scandal has left a lot of people feeling uneasy about just how much Facebook knows, and the controversy doesn't seem to be going away. This is one step toward solving the problems that Cambridge Analytica brought to light, but Facebook is going to have to do a lot a more if it wants to quell the outrage completely.