Facebook adds privacy wording in updated terms of service

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Published: April 5, 2018 12:36:02 AM

Facebook Inc plans to revise the written policies that people agree to when they use the social network, it said on Wednesday, adding language about the protection of personal data as it prepares to comply with a strict new European law.

Facebook, privacy wording, Cambridge Analytica, Donald Trump, Mark ZuckerbergThe world’s largest social media company has been hammered by investors and faces anger from users, advertisers and lawmakers after a series of scandals about fake news stories, election-meddling and privacy.

Facebook Inc plans to revise the written policies that people agree to when they use the social network, it said on Wednesday, adding language about the protection of personal data as it prepares to comply with a strict new European law. The world’s largest social media company has been hammered by investors and faces anger from users, advertisers and lawmakers after a series of scandals about fake news stories, election-meddling and privacy.

Last month, Facebook acknowledged that personal information about more than 50 million users wrongly ended up in the hands of consultancy Cambridge Analytica, which worked on U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign. Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg will testify about the matter next week before the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee, the panel said on Wednesday.

Zuckerberg is scheduled to speak with reporters on a conference call on Wednesday at 1 p.m. Pacific Time (2000 GMT). The company published draft revisions of two documents that apply worldwide, its terms of service and its data policy, and was seeking feedback on them in advance of making them final.

The updates do not ask for new rights to collect, use or share data and will not affect the settings people have chosen on their Facebook accounts, Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said in a phone interview. “This is intended to give people much more in the way of details,” Sherman said.

At more than 4,000 words, the draft of the new data policy is about 50 percent longer than the existing one. All companies that touch personal information in the European Union must comply with a law taking effect there next month that creates landmark protections for data.

Zuckerberg said on Tuesday the company wanted to apply the same legal principles worldwide in spirit, but stopped short of such a commitment, which privacy advocates have demanded.

Facebook last revised its terms of service in January 2015 and its data policy in September 2016.

The draft of the new data policy includes wording such as the promise: “We don’t sell any of your information to anyone, and we never will.” Similar language has appeared in other Facebook documents, but was not spelled out in the most recent version of the data policy.

Facebook will collect feedback for seven days and may revise further afterward, Sherman said.

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