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Facebook starts polishing its privacy messaging ahead of GDPR

Facebook starts polishing its privacy messaging ahead of GDPR
From TechCrunch - January 29, 2018

As the May 25 deadline for compliance with the EUs updated privacy framework fast approachesFacebook is continuing to PR the changes its making to try to meet the new data protection standardand steer away from the specter of fines that can scale as high as 4% of a companys global turnover.

Today its publishedfor the first timewhat it dubs a set of privacy principles that it says guide its approach to handling users information, making grand claims like: We give you control of your privacy, You own and can delete your information and We are accountable.

In truth its just cribbing chunks of the GDPR and claiming the regulations principles as its own. So full marks for spin there.

The EUs sharply tightening enforcement regime for data protection also explains why Facebook hasnt felt the need to make these kind of claims in public before.

Indeed, myriad historicalsnafusshow the company pushing in the polar opposite direction where user data and privacy is concerned. (And in more recent history tooe.g.this,this or this, to point to just a few of many counter examples to these newly published principles.)

No matter, the days of Facebook feeling free to play fast and loose with user data are dwindlingthanks to regulatory interventions.

Under GDPR, the new game Facebook will need to play is gaming trust: Which it to say that it will need to make users feel they trust its brand to protect their privacy and therefore make them feel happy to consent to the company processing their data (rather than asking it to delete it). So PR and carefully packaged info-messaging to users is going to be increasingly important for Facebooks business, going forward.

To wit: The company said today it will be launching an educational campaign aimed at helping users understand and exercise their rights.

This will be run via explainer videos (featuring the likes of cartoon chameleons) dropped into the News Feed toas Facebook tells itgive users information on important privacy topics like how to control what information Facebook uses to show you ads, how to review and delete old posts, and even what it means to delete your account.

It also said it will be pushing out reminders to Facebookers in the EU to take its existing privacy check-up featureto make sure they feel comfortable with what they are sharing with who.

These reminders will begin today androll out over the week, it says. (Facebook users in the US presumably arent getting this special extra privacy check nudge at this time.)

These moves follow an announcement last week, by COO Sheryl Sandberg, saying Facebook would be launching an overhauledglobal privacy settings hub. Although theres still no word on exactly when that will launch. Nor what exactly it will look like (and, as ever with privacy and data protection, the devil really is in the detail).

Nor, indeed, whether it really will be universalglobali.e. will it offer identical controls to users in the EU and the US, for example.

Facebook said today that the feature will put core privacy settings in a single place. Were designing this based on feedback from people, policymakers and privacy experts around the world, it added. But whether those core privacy settings will vary depending on where in the world a Facebook user hails from will be one to watch.

The companyhas also revealed its running a series of data protection workshops throughout this year, aimed at small and medium businessesstarting inEurope, with a stated focus on GDPR.

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