Facebook's Privacy Basics: Will other companies follow?

Facebook simplifies its data policy and terms of service. Will other companies follow? At the very least CMOs should ponder simplification.

Facebook on Wednesday outlined how it is simplifying its privacy terms of service with a shorter user friendly description that argues that "you're in control."


I'll take that you're in control argument with a grain of salt, but will settle for privacy disclosure tools and tutorials that at least will spell out what's happening with my data. Facebook appears to deliver with its Privacy Basics outline. 

Add it up and Facebook's new approach is a nice step in the right direction and could even spur a series of similar moves by data brokers, Web sites and other companies where you and your data are the product. One nice side effect of Facebook's new terms is that other companies may also simplify. At the very least, Facebook's move should put simplifcation on the chief marketing officer's radar. 

Here are the key points about what's Facebook's new terms:

  • The terms are 70 percent shorter so it won't kill you---or require a law degree---to read it.
  • Facebook is still collecting the same amount of data as before for advertising.
  • The company outlined how it is working to make commerce easier to conduct on Facebook. The upshot is that there's a payment push and location-based ads on the horizon.
  • There are more specifics about data use on the mobile front. Here's an excerpt:

We collect information from or about the computers, phones, or other devices where you install or access our Services, depending on the permissions you’ve granted. We may associate the information we collect from your different devices, which helps us provide consistent Services across your devices. Here are some examples of the device information we collect:

  • Attributes such as the operating system, hardware version, device settings, file and software names and types, battery and signal strength, and device identifiers.
  • Device locations, including specific geographic locations, such as through GPS, Bluetooth, or WiFi signals.
  • Connection information such as the name of your mobile operator or ISP, browser type, language and time zone, mobile phone number and IP address.