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Facebook introduces new privacy updates for EU users

The EU GDPR has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe -- to protect and empower all EU citizens' data

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Zuckerberg seeks more time to fix Facebook. Pixabay
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Continuing with its efforts to protect users’ privacy after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook on Wednesday introduced new privacy updates for its users in Europe as part of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will be effective from May 25.

Apart from seeking inputs from regulators and government officials, privacy experts and designers, Facebook brought together hundreds of employees across product, engineering, legal, policy, design and research teams to finalise new updates.

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Facebook was accused of leaking data to Cambridge Analytica earlier this year.

When it comes to ads based on data from partners, like websites and apps that use business tools such as Like button, Facebook will now ask people 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.

“If you’ve chosen to share political, religious and relationship information on your profile, we’ll ask you to choose whether to continue sharing and letting us use this information,” Erin Egan, Vice President and Chief Privacy Officer, Policy at Facebook said in a blog post. “Including this information on your profile is completely optional. We’re making it easier for people to delete it if they no longer want to share it,” added Ashlie Beringer, VP and Deputy General Counsel. Regarding the face recognition technology, Facebook is now giving people in the EU and Canada the choice to turn on face recognition.

Also Read: New algorithm may help locate fake Facebook and Twitter accounts

“Using face recognition is entirely optional for anyone on Facebook,” the post added. “While the substance of our data policy is the same globally, people in the EU will see specific details relevant only to people who live there, like how to contact our Data Protection Officer under GDPR,” Faceboom said.

“As part of our phased approach, people in the rest of the world will be asked to make their choices on a slightly later schedule,” the company added. The EU has asked businesses and service providers globally to comply with GDPR that comes into force from May 25 this year.

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Facebook’s CEO also vowed to fight fake news. Pixabay

The EU GDPR has been designed to harmonise data privacy laws across Europe — to protect and empower all EU citizens’ data privacy and to reshape the way organisations across the region approach data privacy. After four years of debate, the GDPR was finally approved by the EU Parliament on April 14, 2016. Organisations that fail to comply with the new regulation will face hefty fines. IANS

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The European Union Warns Facebook Over Consumer’s Data Usage

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Facebook logo in this picture illustration. VOA

The European Union’s consumer protection chief said Thursday she’s growing impatient with Facebook’s efforts to improve transparency with users about their data, warning it could face sanctions for not complying.

EU Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova turned up the pressure on the social media giant, saying she wants the company to update its terms of service and expects to see its proposed changes by mid-October so they can take effect in December.

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European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova attends an interview with Reuters at the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. VOA

“I will not hide that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years and I really want to see, not the progress — it’s not enough for me — but I want to see the results,” Jourova said.

The EU wants Facebook to give users more information about how their data is used and how it works with third party makers of apps, games and quizzes.

“If we do not see the progress the sanctions will have to come,” she said. She didn’t specify punishment, saying they would be applied by individual countries. “I was quite clear we cannot negotiate forever, we just want to see the result.”

The EU has been pressing the U.S. tech company to look at what changes it needs to make to better protect consumers and this year Facebook has had to adapt to new EU data protection rules. The concerns took on greater urgency after the Cambridge Analytica data privacy scandal erupted, in which data on 87 million Facebook users was allegedly improperly harvested.

Jourova said she hopes Facebook will take more responsibility for its nearly 380 million European users.

“We want Facebook to be absolutely clear to its users about how their service operates and makes money,” she said.

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An advertisement in The New York Times is displayed on Sunday, March 25, 2018, in New York. Facebook’s CEO apologized for the Cambridge Analytica scandal with ads in multiple U.S. and British newspapers. VOA

Facebook said it has already updated its terms of service in May to incorporate changes recommended at that point by EU authorities.

The company said it “will continue our close cooperation to understand any further concerns and make appropriate updates.”

Jourova also said U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers.

Airbnb has promised to be fully transparent by either including extra fees in the total price for a booking quoted on its website or notifying users that they might apply, she said.

 

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U.S.-based property rental site Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers. Flickr

The company is complying with EU demands spurred by concerns that consumers could be confused by its complicated pricing structure, which could add unexpected costs such as cleaning charges at the end of a holiday.

Airbnb is also changing its terms of service to make it clear that travelers can sue their host if they suffer personal harm or other damages. That’s in response to complaints that its booking system can leave tourists stranded if the rental is canceled when all other arrangements have been already made.

Also Read: EU Regulators Question Online Retailer Amazon’s Data Usage

Airbnb said “guests have always been aware of all fees, including service charges and taxes, before booking listings,” and will work with authorities to make it even clearer. (VOA)