Facebook clarifies data use policy

facebook clarifies data use
© iStock/onurdongel

Social media platform Facebook has agreed to update its terms and conditions clarifying its handling of users’ data after intervention by the European Commission.

The site’s terms and conditions will now include clauses detailing Facebook’s use of the data consumers share to develop marketing profiles and sell space for targeted advertising; as well as further clarifying how users can close their Facebook accounts and under what terms accounts may be disabled by the company’s moderators. The Commission and consumer protection groups have welcomed the update to Facebook’s transparency policies.

Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said: “Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use. A company that wants to restore consumers trust after the Facebook/ Cambridge Analytica scandal should not hide behind complicated, legalistic jargon on how it is making billions on people’s data. Now, users will clearly understand that their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads. By joining forces, the consumer authorities and the European Commission, stand up for the rights of EU consumers.”

In the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw political consultancy firm Cambridge Analytica harvest the data of Facebook users to develop targeted political advertisements; and following various other data protection breaches by Facebook, the European Commission and a number of national consumer protection bodies called on the site to make clear to its users how their data would be used and what revenues would be drawn from its use. Facebook has therefore agreed to make clear in its user agreement that, while its users are not charged for its services, any data they share on Facebook may be used by the site for commercial purposes.

Facebook is expected to implement its new transparency commitments by the end of June 2019, under the oversight of the European Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation network.


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