Facebook Changes Privacy Policy

Facebook

Facebook has changed its privacy policy once again in an effort to simplify the process for its users and alleviate frustration and concern that has arisen from some of their previous programming decisions. Their old policy was seen as being too complicated and lengthy to allow their 1.35 billion users to make informed decisions regarding what information, if any, they wanted to share with the world.

Facebook’s new policy has been shortened by 70 percent, dropping the word count down from the current policy’s which has over 9,000 words to 2,700. The new policy is also more user-friendly and includes color coded, interactive features that are designed to encourage users to explore the possible ways for them to limit data sharing and advertising.

“Privacy Basics,” the title of this latest revision, was introduced on Thursday and will be finalized on Nov. 20 of this year. According to Facebook’s newsroom Chief Privacy Officer, Erin Egan, it is the most recent step taken to help users make certain that they are sharing only what they want with the people they want. It includes such things as privacy checkups, simplified audience selectors, and reminders when people post things that can be seen by the general public.

While several things have changed in Facebook’s new privacy policy, many of the things that have caused concern for users in the past will remain the same. There have even been some additions that some users are sure to be wary of. Facebook has allowed owners of businesses to place ads trying to sell their goods and services to users based on their “current city” that appears on their profile. A new feature now allows them to use the location garnered from your smartphone’s GPS which Facebook has access to. In addition to this users will now also be able to see ads from websites they visited while they were not on Facebook itself. The companies can request that Facebook let them advertise to the users who were recorded by use of browser cookies.

Another new feature that is raising some concern is the planned release of a tool that will allow you to buy things without exiting the website. This will mean that Facebook will have a record of your payment information, shipping address and billing address. This new level of information gathering is being added to the already invasive measures Facebook takes to collect user data including photo sharing, private messaging and contact information even if it is being published by other individuals. They have come under criticism before for its privacy policies. In 2012, a newly adjusted version drew the attention of the government of the European Union and the United States. The countries expressed concern about the sharing of individual’s private data with businesses without the consent of the user.

The changed privacy policy for Facebook will be updated on Nov. 20. Right now it is a work in progress and users are encouraged to offer suggestions and comments about what they would like to see in the new version. It is unclear how the new policy will be received by users, however consensus is that having a simpler policy will be beneficial, regardless of the terms contained within it.

By Clara Goode

Sources:
Russia Today
Wall Street OTC
KSDK

Photo Credit: Maria Elena – Flickr License

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