Sunday, August 14, 2022
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Meta Rewrites Privacy Policy with Suspicious Lines Around Data Collection

The corporation previously known as Facebook has released a new modification of its Terms of Service and amended its privacy policy, as it does on occasion. The former Facebook Data Policy has been renamed Meta’s Privacy Policy, and it has been changed “to make it easier to comprehend and reflect the most recent goods we provide.”

Meta “is not collecting, using, or sharing your data in new ways based on this policy update,” according to the company, and “we still do not sell your information.” Instead, the wording has been tweaked and examples have been included to assist people grasp what each portion is about.

After reading the new policy and comparing it to the previous one, it appears that this is still valid, for better or worse. The promise that this policy will not share data in new ways sounds good, but “the problem is that Facebook already funnels user data at industrial scale into a vast targeted advertising ecosystem,” according to John Davisson, senior counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a comment to The Verge. As a result, the current quo is not conducive to privacy.”

Meta has made attempts to make its policies clearer and easier to read on many occasions in the previous few years (for example, in 2014 and 2018), and this layout may do the greatest job thus far, but it may help Meta more than it helps consumers comprehend what they’re consenting to. Including examples helps avoid misunderstandings and misinterpretations of regulations, such as the issue with Instagram’s terms of service modification in 2012, when users feared the service would start selling everyone’s images.

“Even the clearest privacy policy isn’t a replacement for enforceable privacy rights or legislative constraints on data processing,” the author writes. It’s “unrealistic” to believe that Facebook users can understand what they’re committing to in a 9,000-word agreement with dozens of nested choices covering various settings and circumstances, according to Davisson.

The new regulation applies to Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and other Meta products, but not to WhatsApp, Workplace, Messenger Kids, or Quest devices that aren’t connected to Facebook (those have their own privacy policies). Non-users who are worried that their information has been captured in “shadow profiles” may find information on rules here.

Meta is also introducing new Audience Controls on Facebook, which allow you to choose who sees your posts. The tool used to default to the most recent audience option you’d used, whether it was Public, Friends (+ friends of anybody tagged), Only Me, or a custom list of persons you wanted to see or hide the post from. Whatever your default selection in your preferences is now, it will be there at the start of every new post you produce, even if you used something else previously.

Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace
Joe Wallace is a reporter with over two decades of experience, writing about the latest and greatest technology news. With the most experience on TheOptic team, Joe strives to help highlight the most exciting developments in the technology world, as well as bring you the latest updates on new and developing technologies from around the world.
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