Facebook offers new privacy policy for regular people

Facebook is testing a new simplified version of its privacy policy written for regular people.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

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."

Editorial standards