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With A Nod To European Commission Pressure, Facebook Updates Data Use Disclosures

data privacy

In the continuing saga focused on user data, how that data is used, and transparency, score one for the Europeans.

In news reported early Tuesday (April 9), Facebook has acquiesced to demands from the European Commission and other authorities, and has revised the way it discloses the use of data. The social media giant also is taking responsibility for data’s misuse by third parties, reports Reuters — and where, according to a statement from the Commission, the company “has not acted with due professional diligence.”

The changes come in the wake of several high-profile security breaches and lapses. In one recent example, hundreds of millions of Facebook users’ data was publicly displayed and was accessible on Amazon servers.

In the Tuesday developments, the European Commission said the shifts in Facebook policy mean users will know how their information is used, in part, to target them to generate revenue.

The company will also keep content that is deleted by users for up to 90 days and also keep content only when requested by authorities.

The Commission said the changes will be made by June of this year.

In a statement, Vera Jourová, the EU’s commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality, said, “Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straightforward language in its terms of use.”

Facebook, for its part, said through Thomas Myrup Kristensen, the company’s managing director of EU affairs, “We’ve been doing a lot of work this year to better explain how Facebook works, what data we collect and how we use it. As part of these ongoing efforts, we’ll be updating our Terms of Service to be more clear about how Facebook makes money.”

The announcements come just after proposals debuted in the United Kingdom that look to form a new regulatory framework and establish an independent regulator focused on social media.

Separately, the Canadian government is mulling stronger regulation of social media firms, including Facebook, in a bid to stanch what The New York Times reported could be “meddling” in voting in a national election scheduled for later in the year. The newspaper reported that, as disclosed by Kevin Chan, head of public policy for Facebook Canada, Facebook has plans to put in place new rules governing paid political advertising on that country and is making efforts to block attempts to meddle in the elections.

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