Facebook to offer ‘clearer’ terms on privacy, data use

Facebook says its updated terms of service will offer clear information but won't ask for new rights on collecting user data
AFP

Washington (AFP) – Facebook said Wednesday it is updating its terms on privacy and data sharing to give users a clearer picture of how the social network handles personal information.

The move by Facebook follows a firestorm over the hijacking of personal information on tens of millions of users by a political consulting firm which sparked a raft of investigations worldwide.

“We’re not asking for new rights to collect, use or share your data on Facebook,” said a statement by Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan and deputy general counsel Ashlie Beringer.

“We’re also not changing any of the privacy choices you’ve made in the past.”

Facebook is under intense pressure to fix the problems which led to the harvesting of some 50 million user profiles by Cambridge Analytica, a consulting firm working on Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign.

The company has already unveiled several measures aimed at improving privacy and transparency, but chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has said it may take several years to address all the issues raised in the scandal.

Egan and Beringer said that with the new terms of service, “we explain how we use data and why it’s needed to customize the posts and ads you see, as well as the groups, friends and pages we suggest.”

They wrote that “we will never sell your information to anyone” and impose “strict restrictions on how our partners can use and disclose data.”

The statement said the new terms will offer better information on how Facebook advertising operates as well.

“You have control over the ads you see, and we don’t share your information with advertisers,” the statement said.

“Our data policy explains more about how we decide which ads to show you.”

Egan and Beringer said Facebook will go further in explaining how it gathers information from phones and other devices.

“People have asked to see all the information we collect from the devices they use and whether we respect the settings on your mobile device (the short answer: we do),” they wrote.

Users may offer feedback on the new policy for seven days before Facebook finalizes the new rules and asks its members to accept them.

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