Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

Summary: Facebook is testing a new simplified version of its privacy policy written for regular people.

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Privacy policies are rarely written for the majority of the people who actually use a given product or service, but Facebook wants to change that on its website after constant complaints about its own legal document. The website's privacy team has taken on a new project with the goal of developing a privacy policy written for regular people, as opposed to for regulators and privacy advocates.

In this vein, the company came up with three basic principles based on feedback received from thousands of people as well as from our ongoing conversations with privacy experts, policy makers, and regulators from around the world:

  1. It should be easy to understand, even when the concepts are complicated, or it is of no use to anyone.
  2. It should be visual and interactive, because that's the way people use the web today.
  3. It should focus on the questions people who use Facebook are most likely to ask, because that makes it relevant.

The resulting new privacy policy is available at facebook.com/about/privacy in draft form (if you'd like to compare against it, the current one is available at facebook.com/policy.php). Facebook wants you to answer the following three questions. Is this easier to understand than our current policy? What do you like about it? What do you think could be better?

It is presently being translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Turkish, Japanese and Korean. Although Facebook says it tried not to change the substance of the policy, the simplification process did yield some new things that were elsewhere on the site (like the help center). The new policy provides an even more in-depth and consolidated explanation of:

  • Information Received. We provide much more detail as to the categories of information received and how it is used and what Everyone data means.
  • Information Used. We describe how we may use your information to do things like improve your Facebook experience over time. This includes using your information to target ads to you and to make different kinds of suggestions to you and your friends.
  • Advertising. In general we provide a lot more detail about how advertisers can target ads to you and provide interactive examples of advertising targeting.
  • Tagging. We explain tagging and how you may remove tags, including tags that post stories to your profile.
  • Username / User ID. We explain what the username and User ID are and what they mean for you.
  • Graph API. We explain what information about you is accessible via our APIs, including the graph API.
  • Instant Personalization. We provide even more detail about how instant personalization works and make it very clear how to control your experience.
  • Social Plugins. We explain social plugins in detail, including information we may receive about you from with social plugins.
  • Pages. We explain Pages, including that the information you post to Pages is Everyone information and that the Page owner may post iFrames on their Page.
  • Access Requests. We remind people that they may access their own data through self-service tools and also inform them of Access Requests.

If Facebook users like the new privacy policy, the company says it will put it "through our regular notice and comment process at a later date." Otherwise, the company will "go back to the drawing board."

Topic: Social Enterprise

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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10 comments
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  • RE: Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

    It is nice to see that Facebook is giving it and honest effort, even as Google try's to strong arm them into giving up more data,
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-12565527
    Facebook may be far from perfect, though I think they are trying hard to move in a more positive direction.
    bates40
    • RE: Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

      @bates40 : Google doesn't seem to give a crap about privacy issues [think about the Google view where they were grabbing Wi-Fi data. Why? Or getting images for the view - sometimes including things that should of not been captured?

      Only thing i use them for is for searching. Nothing else. Don't trust them.
      Gis Bun
  • RE: Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

    It is about time that Facebook provided easy-to-understand privacy controls and warnings to the general Facebook user populace, most of whom are clueless. This is a good start - and it would be great if they also precluded third party developers from accessing production information.... just a thought.
    i_jessica
  • Impossible...

    ...FacePLANT has no security options, therefore you are all being tricked into clicking on options that actually do nothing. You just can't drop security on top of something, just look at Windows, it's a swiss cheese of an OS after years of trying to secure it...it can't, won't, will not happen!
    james347
  • Here's a thought...

    ...How about not being part of Facebook? There's your privacy right there. Still can't believe how willing people are to reveal the most private things online for the world to see. But yet they blame Facebook for privacy problems?
    bricar2
    • RE: Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

      @bricar2 ... I have to admit you are absolutely correct IMO! Also, for those who just don't think Security is an issue today, is the fact that "delete" anything on facebook does not exist. Delet might make it not visible to users, but it is forever stored in their archives as usable information for all time to come. So if you "accidentally" post anything confidential there, it's there forever for FB to use forever.
      tom@...
  • Facebook will change this policy shortly

    Facebook endlessly changes their privacy policies for the purpose of acquiring your personal information.
    The above is what history has taught us that we can count on from Facebook.

    IF privacy is important to you, Facebook is to be avoided.
    dfolk2
  • RE: Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

    lol! Read their new policy; don't really see where anything changed, only a re-arrangement of words. The one I liked best was:
    "
    You can always remove or block cookies using the settings in your browser, but it may affect your ability to use Facebook.
    "
    What it has always meant, and will continue to mean, is that you cannot use FB unless you accept ALL types of cookies! Limit ANY cookies and you can't even sign up!
    Covert application of cookies may NOT be placed on this machine unless the sender wants to be on my IGNORE/NEVER VISIT list. Notice they make NO reference to what they use each of the many types of cookies for. And they aren't changing anything about cookie use or they would have said so.
    Apologies to those who love FB; they're just way too underhanded IMO to bother with.
    tom@...
  • New Policy?

    Not 'new' that I can see; just reworded.
    tom@...
  • searching, searching . . ..

    an "easy to use" privacy policy does not require three clicks to get to the information proffered on the first link. this is poor design.
    zclayton2