Facebook 'proposes' changes to the way it handles your data

Just a couple of days ago Facebook was in the headlines after being ordered to pay out $20m for putting user data to work in advertising campaigns. Now the site is proposing a set of changes to the documents that govern the way user data is handled as well as determining who has access to it.

At least some of the suggested changes come as a direct result of the court ruling including re-writing the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. The new document includes a clearer explanation of the fact that in using Facebook users are granting permission for their name, profile picture and content to be used "in connection with ads or commercial content". It is good to see, however, that "when you limit your audience, we’ll respect that choice".

The changes also make clear that Facebook collects data about the devices and software you use to access the site, and also emphasizes the fact that your personal information will be used by the company. Specifically, the changes explain that by using Facebook you grant the company permission to use this data "to operate Facebook" and also to "share information with service providers when they help us provide services".

The re-written document explains that while deleting an app may prevent the associated company from gathering more information about you, you will need to directly contact that company to ask it to delete the data it holds about you if that’s what you would prefer.

Put simply, in using Facebook, you are essentially allowing the site to do whatever it wants with the data you choose to hand over. This may be nothing new, but it is being set out clearer than ever before.

While these changes are being put forward as proposals, it is unlikely that any major alterations will be made to them. If you fancy reading through the update proposals in full, they can be found on the Facebook Site Governance notes pages. Users are invited to leave feedback within the next seven days, but these changes are hardly being advertised to the masses. If you want to have your say, leave a comment under the post by Chief Privacy Office, Erin Egan.

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles/Shutterstock

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