Regulatory policy

Facebook’s new privacy policy: what you need to know

Facebook owner Meta started sending out alerts about changes to its privacy policy starting in July. So what has changed and should you be concerned?

The answer to the first question is not great; the second is more complicated. Facebook is a data-hungry advertising giant that collects large amounts of your data. The social network has come under enormous pressure in recent months after scrutiny from regulators and allegations from whistleblowers. Add Apple’s privacy changes into the mix, which could cost Facebook $12 billion– and it’s a perfect storm for the social network owned by Mark Zuckerberg.

In a Blog announcing changes to its privacy policy, Facebook says nothing has changed. Instead, the social media company will now include more information about what data it collects and with whom it is shared. That’s a good thing, because Facebook has been less than transparent about where the data goes. Indeed, according to a document leaked last monthFacebook has no idea what it does with your data (which the social network denies).

Announcing the update to Facebook’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, Product Privacy Officer Michel Protti explained how, although the text looks different, the updates “only allow not Meta to collect, use or share your data in new ways”.

“At Meta, we have always sought to create personalized experiences that provide value without compromising your privacy. It is therefore our responsibility to have strong protections for the data we use and to be transparent about how we This includes clearer communication about our data practices and the choices you have.”

Facebook’s privacy update, which impacts Facebook, Instagram and Facebook Messenger but not WhatsApp, also adds more control over who sees your posts. Meanwhile, Facebook has added a one-time control to help you set your ad topic preferences.

Who are Facebook’s changes really for?

It comes at a time when Facebook is under intense regulatory scrutiny, which recently saw it release information detailing how political ads target users. Updating its privacy policy is one of them – an attempt to appease regulators with more transparency in its practices.

So much so that Stephanie Hare, author of Technology Is Not Neutral: A Short Guide to Technology Ethics, told the BBC that Facebook owner Meta was “going into tech realpolitik”.

“Their bet is that most users have accepted this bargain – they have considered a trade-off of privacy for social connection, convenience, fun and business – so this announcement works to neutralize criticism of surveillance capitalism .”

This transfers responsibility “to users and regulators – ‘users, it’s your choice to be in on this transaction,’ she told the BBC. “And regulators, the ball is in your court to enforce the laws in your jurisdiction.

The Facebook removal movement continues to gather pace

The Facebook removal movement continues to gather pace. Amidst a lot of bad publicity, many people are realizing that the social network collects a huge amount of data and follows you far more than is comfortable.

If you’re not ready to delete the social network, I offer some recommendations on how to protect your privacy and limit your use of Facebook. If you have an iPhone, you can use App Tracking Transparency to block Facebook from tracking you on other apps and websites. Even better, you can remove the app from your phone to limit the data Facebook can collect and only use it on your computer’s browser.