In a message called “Enhancing Transparency In Our Data Use Policy,” the social network said the policy updates are an extension of last year’s redesign to make important information more visible. They also are in line with recommendations in an audit by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office, which regulates European affiliate Facebook Ireland.
“We’re adding more examples and detailed explanations to help you understand our policies,” Erin Egan, the Chief Privacy Officer for Policy at Facebook said. “For example, we include additional tips, marked with a light bulb so you can find them easily. We’ve added new links to our Help Center. We created a new section explaining how we use ‘cookies’ and similar technologies and updated the corresponding explanations about cookies in our Help Center. We also provide more information about how we use data to operate Facebook, to advertise, and to promote safety and security for Facebook users. These examples and explanations are designed to help you understand what the Data Use Policy means in practice.”
Facebook, the top social network in the world, has in recent years come under fire for its lack of transparency in how it uses members’ data. Consumer advocates also want privacy settings to be easier for Facebook members to understand – and use.
In addition to new features such as Activity Log to collect in one place what someone posts on Facebook, the company’s corraled 10 policy documents into what it calls the “Facebook Terms and Policies Hub.”
Facebook’s Egan will be conducting a live video Q&A 9 a.m. Pacific/12 noon Eastern Time on Monday, May 14, to respond to questions about the proposed changes. Most likely to be of interest is a policy tweak that could place targeted advertising on sites outside Facebook – a potentially lucrative revenue stream as Facebook’s IPO draws closer. It also changes data retention language so information from advertisers will now be kept for 180 days, and Facebook will retain all types of data for “as long as necessary.”
Egan told a Reuters reporter that comments will be taken for seven days and any policy change that receives more than 7,000 comments will be put to a vote by Facebook users.