Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has announced a change to users’ personal information that’s long overdue. The social media giant announced they’d be removing four fields from Facebook’s personal information section from next month.
The four fields that will be removed include address, political view, religious views, and sexual preferences, known as ‘Interested In’ on the platform. Users who have any of these fields completed on their profile will receive a message from the platform, similar to this one shared by Social Media Specialist Matt Navarra.
In the messages, users will be informed that these fields will be removed from December 1st, 2022. A link will also be available for users to download their profiles if they need to before these fields are removed.
Many users wonder why it’s taken the platform this long to remove, as most of its competitors, such as TikTok, don’t require this in-depth personal information. While some users enjoy adding more information to their profiles, others prefer to protect their privacy and leave these fields unanswered.
A spokesperson for Facebook explained that they’re removing these fields to make it easier for users to navigate the platform. They also expressed that, should users want to share this information, there are still other ways to do so elsewhere on the platform.
As such, removing these outdated fields seems to be a move from Facebook to streamline its processes. We can’t help but wonder if removing these fields will make that much of a difference to the app’s processes, but maybe it’s more centered on privacy. After all, these aren’t the only changes being made to their services.
The platform no longer uses these fields for ad targeting as of January 2022, which the platform removed to align better with Europe’s GDPR. This information might still be visible to others and can be collected in other ways and used for targeting by third parties. It can also be a way for individual users or groups to target and belittle others if they disagree with their sexuality, political, or religious views. So it’s a move we respect, even if a little overdue.
This news follows the announcement of layoffs of 11 000 Meta workers last week. With 13% of its workforce gone, it’s understandable that the platform wants to streamline processes as much as possible. We look forward to seeing what other changes they make amidst their recent difficulties.