Earlier this month, reports suggested that Facebook would not be adding Europe’s stringent General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) privacy protection features to accounts outside of the EU. However, CEO Mark Zuckerberg soon clarified that Facebook “intend(s) to make all the same controls available everywhere, not just in Europe.”
Zuckerberg later added that the rules might not be implemented exactly as in the EU, saying the company was still trying to figure out how to alter the regulations for markets around the world. Now, in an official blog post, the company has announced new privacy protection features for all users, based on the new privacy laws.
In the blog post, Erin Egan, Facebook’s VP and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy and Ashlie Beringer, Facebook’s VP and Deputy General Counsel, wrote:
“In recent weeks we’ve announced several steps to give people more control over their privacy and explain how we use data. Today we’re introducing new privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook as part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), including updates to our terms and data policy. Everyone – no matter where they live – will be asked to review important information about how Facebook uses data and make choices about their privacy on Facebook.”
As part of the new privacy protection features, Facebook will now ask users to check the data being shared with Facebook and explain how the data is being used by the company. Users will now have the option to make choices about the following features on the platform:
- Ads based on data from partners – It’s common knowledge that Facebook makes use of data from partners, like websites and apps, to push relevant ads to a user’s feed. In this context, the company will now ask users to “review information about this type of advertising, and to choose whether or not they want us to use data from partners to show them ads.”
- Information in their profile – With the implementation of the new features, Facebook will ask users to review the data that’s being shared from their profiles. In case a user has chosen to share political, religious, and relationship information, the social media platform will now prompt users to choose if they wish to continue sharing the information or not. If a user doesn’t want to share the information, Facebook will now allow them to easily delete it.
- Allowing face recognition technology – Facebook uses facial recognition technology to “protect your privacy and improve your experiences”. For example, the platform is capable of detecting if other users attempt to use your photo as their profile picture. The company is now giving users in the EU and Canada the choice to turn on facial recognition. The technology will also be used to suggest tags by identifying other users in your images or videos.
Along with these changes, Facebook is also introducing new tools. The company announced the new Settings and Privacy Shortcuts features last month and will start rolling them out this week. The new tools will allow people to see their data, delete it, and easily download or export it. While the new tools will be available globally, they’ve also been designed to comply with GDPR. The Activity Log feature on mobile has also been updated, making it easier for users to see the information they’ve shared with Facebook.
The new review requests will start popping up for users in the EU this week, ahead of the GDPR coming into effect on May 25. The review requests will then roll out in phases to users in the rest of the world and will be customized according to their region and jurisdiction.