Facebook updates terms and data collection policy to be more ‘clear’

While intended to make data collection policies easier to understand, it's not clear how many users will take time to read and understand them.

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Facebook is updating and changing its terms of service and data policy. This is part of a multi-pronged effort to make the company’s privacy policies and tools more accessible and easier to use.

The company says it’s trying to make things “clearer” and that it’s not asking for “new rights to collect, use or share your data on Facebook.” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg also announced today that the company will bring European GDPR privacy safeguards to its users outside of Europe.

In a blog post, Facebook outlined the intended policy changes and invited public comment “for the next seven days.” The company is addressing a broad range of issues and features.

Below is an edited summary of some of the announced changes, from the blog post:

  • We’re providing information on [newer features like Marketplace]
  • Everyone’s experience on Facebook is unique, and we’re providing more information on how [personalization] works.
  • We explain all of the circumstances where we share information [with third parties]
  • Our data policy explains more about how we decide which ads to show you
  • We explain how we share services, infrastructure and information [with owned and operated services such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Messenger and Oculus]
  • We’ve also added more specific information about [call and SMS data collection histories]
  • We better explain how we combat abuse … by analyzing the content people share

Unfortunately, surveys and other research indicate that the majority of users don’t read terms of service, let alone understand them. So it’s not clear how much difference this will make to “ordinary users.” These changes may ultimately more be impactful in the media and Washington DC.

As suggested by the data, most users probably will not read these new policy and terms of service changes. They will either trust or not trust Facebook — instinctively. And many of those who don’t trust it will continue use the platform, as history suggests.

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About the author

Greg Sterling
Greg Sterling is a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land, a member of the programming team for SMX events and the VP, Market Insights at Uberall.

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