Facebook Vows To Go Beyond Its GDPR Privacy Obligations

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Facebook on Tuesday vowed to go above and beyond the legal obligations it will be subjected to by the General Data Protection Regulation going into effect in the European Union in just over a month. Officials of the Menlo Park, California-based tech giant hence reiterated on some of the statements previously made by CEO Mark Zuckerberg who said the GDPR will benefit every Facebook user, not just the ones from the Old Continent, even though certain tools will be exclusive to Europeans or at least adapted for other jurisdictions outside of the political bloc so as to be fully compliant with all applicable laws.

Following the new update to Facebook, users in the EU and Canada will be able to opt out of the social network's facial recognition platform that collects and leverages data about their faces. Consumers in the U.S. still won't be given the same option for the time being even though Facebook is presently being sued over the matter as part of a class-action litigation originating from Illinois. All users will soon be able to choose whether they want Facebook to utilize third-party data to serve them advertisements which the company claims is what makes such promotional materials more relevant. In this context, third-party data refers to things like browsing habits which Facebook collects even outside of its social network through tools such as Like and Share buttons embedded into other websites. The company didn't give any indication that it will eventually allow users to opt out of such data being collected at all.

In the same vein, Facebook will soon start double-checking whether users want their relationship status, political orientation, and religious views used by the company for advertising purposes. If they don't, the firm will be encouraging them to delete such information from their profiles. Starting this week, the GDPR-compliant Settings and Privacy Shortcuts meant to give more insight into the kind of data Facebook collects and has on you will be rolled out to everyone, as will a revamped Activity Log designed to allow for a similar functionality on mobile devices, i.e. Android and iOS smartphones and tablets.

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The company is also working on new privacy protections for teens, including non-public default sharing settings and disabled facial recognition for anyone under 18. A new online resource center meant to educate teens on the subject of digital privacy will also be going live later this year, as will a wide variety of other protections Facebook is presently working on, the company promised in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.