Facebook really wants you to know that it cares about your privacy. The company is sending one of its top executives this week to sit on a panel of Chief Privacy Officers, along with the head of privacy policy at Apple and a commissioner from the Federal Trade Commission. 

And today the company announced that it is updating its Privacy Checkup feature that was introduced in 2014 as a way for users to "strengthen your account security and control who can see what you share and how your information is used," according to a company blog post.

Of course, Facebook is the same company that protested when the latest versions of both iOS and Android included better control of how your devices track and share your location. In fact, it literally told people that users shouldn't utilize the feature because Facebook really needs to know where you are all the time. 

It's also the company that agreed to pay $5 billion to settle an investigation of repeated privacy violations. Oh, and it also doesn't think CCPA applies to its business. So, you'd be forgiven for having a healthy dose of skepticism when Facebook starts to tout its commitment to user privacy.

Yet, according to Facebook, the new Privacy Checkup tool gives users easier access to control of four areas related to their information. Those include who can see what you share, how people find you and your content on Facebook, how your data is shared with apps, and general password hygiene.

The Privacy Checkup serves as a sort of interactive interface that makes it easier to navigate the settings related to your personal information, but it isn't clear that it actually gives you any new control over your privacy. I actually reached out to Facebook to find out if the company was allowing users to opt out of having their personal data used for marketing altogether, but the company did not immediately respond. 

Then again, it's really not in Facebook's interest to give you more control over how your personal information is used. In fact, in this case, your interests and Facebook's are the direct opposite. The more privacy you have, the less Facebook is able to monetize you.

That's because ultimately Facebook makes money by knowing as much as it can about who you are and what you do online and then using that information to target you with ads. That's its entire business model, and it's an extremely lucrative one. In fact, the world's largest social media network is also the second-largest advertising platform.

If you've read this column much, you know I've made no secret that I think most of Facebook's talk about privacy and protecting its users' information is just that--talk.

It's easy to be distracted by all of the head-fakes towards privacy, but the only thing that would actually change that equation is if Facebook changed its business model. That's not likely to happen anytime soon, which means that regardless of what Facebook says, you should pay attention to what it actually does.

Which leads us to the reality that no matter what kind of "makeover" Facebook gives to a few settings, there's no amount of cosmetic improvements that will make the way Facebook handles your data look good. 

Published on: Jan 6, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.