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Facebook Makes Privacy Policy Shorter, Easier to Understand

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Facebook has always been under the line of fire from critics over its complicated privacy policy. As a part of their initiative to make things simpler for the users of this site, the networking giant announced its decision to update its privacy policy through a blog post on Thursday. The new policy, says the post, will be much shorter, clearer and easier to understand.

“Our goal is to make the information about Facebook as clear as possible,” said Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer.

“Our hope is that it won’t take long for people to read through this and really get it,” she said.

The new policy which is being called Privacy Basics is only 30% the length of the original policy and is written in simple, easily understandable language. It is only 2.700 words in all as compared to the 9,000 word long original policy. It is also more heavily illustrated.

Facebook Privacy Policy

This is a part of the social site’s updates to its Term of Service and Data Use Policies. All the new proposals shall be open to comments and/ or suggestions for the next seven days i.e. till November 20. A final version will be presented a month after that.

Facebook users can now see most of their privacy related queries addressed on the Privacy Basics section in the form of FAQs, this will include information about unfriending, blocking, untagging, choosing the people who can read their posts, who can see their photos, how to delete posts and how to change the audience for a status from ‘Public’ to ‘Friends only’, etc.

This information will be available in 36 languages to users all across the world.

It is important to understand that the site has not made any changes to its existing policies – it has only made them easier to understand.

“We’re working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to. For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area,” said Egan.

Facebook also proposes to introduce a BUY button shortly which will allow users to buy from their favourite networking site without having to leave it. The feature has already been tested in some parts of the world and might be rolled out soon.

Users will now have the option to regulate the type of ads they see on their page. Users who opted out of certain apps over their computers earlier were again served those on their mobile devices earlier. The site will now apply ad preferences to all devices linked with an account, thereby giving users greater control over the types of ads they want to (or do not want to) see.

The proposed changes will not, however, affect how much data this site collects and how much of that data it passes on to third parties to target ads at users. Though the social giant is trying its best to appear user-friendly, it continues to collect and pass on information about us, our likes, our photos, the places we visited, the ads we clicked and much more to third parties.

Facebook also proposes to make it easier for users to opt out of targeted ads, though it plans to continue serving ads to users on the basis of sites and apps used by them.

Finer Print

Though there is no doubt that the more user-friendly and easily worded privacy policy will help casual surfers handle their accounts better than before, there is little that the site has done to address users’ concerns about sharing their personal information with third parties for advertising purposes.

The site still says, “We receive information about you and your activities on and off Facebook from third-party partners, such as information from a partner when we jointly offer services or from an advertiser about your experiences or interactions with them.”

Since a major chunk of Facebook’s profits comes from advertising, it is obvious they will not stop sharing information about users with third parties.

The only option Facebook users have, to safeguard their privacy, is to delete their account perhaps. But given the fact that most of us are so addicted to it, is that an option at all?

  1. […] Facebook users do not care (or even know about it) about the privacy policy. While Facebook has tried to make it simpler for average user to understand, very few have read it or have taken requisite action on […]

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