3 min read

Earlier this week, Facebook updated its terms and services after discussions with the European Commission and consumer protection authorities. Facebook will now clearly explain how it leverages users’ data to create “profiling activities and target advertising”, which in turn helps them make money.

As per the new terms and services, Facebook will have to provide details on:

  • services it sells to third parties based on the user’s data.
  • how consumers can close their accounts, and for what reasons can users account be disabled.
  • nature of the research activities conducted by Facebook itself or with third party business partners.
  • reducing the number of clauses in the contract that are applied on a user’s account even after the termination of the account. Facebook will also inform consumers of these cases.

The new terms of services are aimed at providing full disclosure of Facebook’s business model in an understandable and plain language to the users. This is great since a new Adtech Market research report by the Information Commissioner’s Office states that most 61% users disagree that they’d prefer to see adverts on websites that are relevant to them. While 59% feel that they have no control over which advertisements are shown to them. Hopefully, as more users are made aware of what goes behind social media advertising, we can expect to see a drop in these numbers.

“Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use… Now, users will clearly understand that their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads..”, said Vera Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality.

As per the statement from the European Union, post-Cambridge Analytica Scandal, Facebook was requested to clearly inform its users on how it receives finances and the revenues that it makes leveraging user’s data. Facebook was also requested to align its terms of service as per the EU Consumer Law.

Apart from that, Facebook has also changed:

  • its policy on the limitation of liability and acknowledges its responsibility in case of negligence ( eg; data mishandling by third parties)
  • its power to unilaterally change terms and conditions by limiting it to cases where the changes are reasonable
  • the rules around temporary retention of content that has been deleted by consumers.  Such type of content can only be retained in few cases (eg; in compliance with an enforcement request by an authority)
  • the language clarifying the right to appeal of users when their content has been removed.

EU states that Facebook will complete the implementation of all commitments by the end of June 2019. Also, the Commission and the Consumer Protection Cooperation network will closely monitor the implementation. In case, Facebook fails to fulfill its commitments, national consumer authorities would then resort to enforcement measures including sanctions.

For more information, check out the official updated Facebook terms of service.

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Tech writer at the Packt Hub. Dreamer, book nerd, lover of scented candles, karaoke, and Gilmore Girls.