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Facebook simplifies terms of service, data policy following scandal

Facebook is tweaking the language of the terms and data policy to make it easier for users to understand how their data is being used.

  • Published: April 5, 2018 9:21 AM IST
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Facebook is still reeling under the pressure from lawmakers, privacy advocates, investors, and users following the mega breach of trust it felt after data firm Cambridge Analytica misused users’ data for building political tools. After the scandal came to light, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company will limit the access app developers have to user data. Now, in its latest efforts to control the damage, the company has announced simpler terms of service and data policy.

In the blog, Facebook’s VP and Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan and VP and Deputy General Counsel Ashlie Beringer, explain the updates to the company’s terms of service, by essentially simplifying the language of the terms and making it easier for the user to read and understand. The change is not aimed at bringing in new rights to collect, use, or share the user data on Facebook.

“We’re not asking for new rights to collect, use or share your data on Facebook. We’re also not changing any of the privacy choices you’ve made in the past,” the company explains.

The changes

Facebook is assuring that it will provide information on recently introduced features. It will further aim at providing a more personalized experience. For the tailored experience, Facebook will explain how your data is used and why it is needed to customize the posts and ads you see on the platform.

In the updated policy, Facebook simplifies the language to state that the user data will never be sold to anyone and strict restrictions are imposed on how Facebook’s partners use or disclose the data. Importantly, the new policy mentions clearly that a user has control over the ads that they see. Facebook clears that it does not share the user information with advertisers.

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The blog goes on to state that the change to the data policy extends to other Facebook-owned services including WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger, and other products. Furthermore, with multiple devices being used to access social media accounts, Facebook is adding more details about the information it collects when you sync your contacts from some of Facebook products, including call and SMS history. Lastly, the company aims to better explain how it handles abuse and investigates suspicious activity, including by analyzing the content people share.

It is worth mentioning that these changes are being proposed to Facebook users. For the next seven days, users will be able to provide their feedback on the terms and data policy. Once it is finalized, these will be published and you will be asked to agree to them. Facebook users will also get more information about their privacy settings.

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  • Published Date: April 5, 2018 9:21 AM IST