Facebook to help users take control of their personal information

Facebook said it is publishing its privacy principles for the first time and rolling out educational videos to help users control who has access to their information, as it prepares for the start of a tough new EU data protection law.

The videos will show users how to manage the data that Facebook uses to show them ads, how to delete old posts, and what happens to the data when they delete their account, Erin Egan, chief privacy officer at Facebook, said in a blog post.

Facebook, which has more than 2bn users, said it had never before published the principles, which are its rules on how the company handles users’ information.

The announcements are a sign of its efforts to get ready before the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) enters into force on May 25, marking the biggest overhaul of personal data privacy rules since the birth of the internet.

Under GDPR, companies will be required to report data breaches within 72 hours, as well as to allow customers to export their data and delete it.

Facebook’s privacy principles, which are separate from the user terms and conditions that are agreed when someone opens an account, range from giving users control of their privacy, to building privacy features into Facebook products from the outset, to users owning the information they share.

“We recognise that people use Facebook to connect, but not everyone wants to share everything with everyone — including with us. It’s important that you have choices when it comes to how your data is used,” Egan wrote.

Also among the company’s privacy principles are helping users understand how their data is used, keeping that information secure, constantly improving new controls, and being accountable to regulators.

“We put products through rigorous data security testing. We also meet with regulators, legislators and privacy experts around the world to get input on our data practices and policies,” the blog post said.

The company’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg announced last week that Facebook would be creating a new privacy centre which would put the social network’s key privacy settings in one place.

The GDPR drastically increases the level of fines for companies found to be in breach of data protection law, potentially rising as high as 4% of global annual turnover or €20m, whichever is higher.

More on this topic

Mother of harassment victim who died calls for stronger online lawsMother of harassment victim who died calls for stronger online laws

20% of children talk to strangers online20% of children talk to strangers online

Online banking to introduce additional security steps from next monthOnline banking to introduce additional security steps from next month

How safe are you from sexual predators online?How safe are you from sexual predators online?


Lifestyle

Tis the season for sequins and excess, but minimalists can stick to their style guns in the season’s next level neutrals. From low-key glitz that’s perfect for party wear to the wardrobe heroes with trans-seasonal appeal, slide into neutral for maximum style with minimal effort. Carolyn Moore reports.Low-key glitz for minimalists with this season's neutrals

How to plump, hydrate and get rid of spots fast before your Christmas party.The Skin Nerd: Getting your quick fix for the festive party season

Irish photographer Seamus Murphy brought music star PJ Harvey to Afghanistan to film part of their documentary, writes Esther McCarthy.Headlong into the war zone in new documentary

Kya deLongchamps shows us how to champion our environmentWinter greens: How to champion our environment this season

More From The Irish Examiner