“Our goal is to make the information about Facebook as clear as possible,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, told The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. “Our hope is that it won’t take long for people to read through this and really get it.”
According to the Journal, Facebook worked with members of the Council of Better Business Bureaus to make the policy more user friendly, and this week, the company is accepting public comments from users to help inform the policy.
Though users have the option to opt in or out of sharing information with third-party apps, they still don’t have the option to select what type of information is shared, and more importantly, the new data policy still maintains that Facebook has the right to use information people share on Facebook to target ads to them on and off Facebook.
The reality is that most Facebook users will not read the policy, and even if they do take issue with the way Facebook intends to collect information about their purchases or use their location information to target advertisements, most will likely continue to use Facebook. Such is the way of the modern web, which is, in large part, paid for and driven by ad targeting technologies.
On Thursday, Facebook also rolled out a feature called Privacy Basics, an animated guide to controlling what others see about you, how others can interact with you, and what you see, and this includes a direct link to the company’s new data policy, which it will be finalizing over the next month.
The new policy is indeed easier to understand. It includes clear questions, like “What kinds of information do we collect?” and “How can I manage and delete information about me?” The answers to those questions are arranged in neat, bulleted lists. The update also includes information on how Facebook uses payment data, noting that the company collects information on each purchase, as well as credit card data, account authentication information, billing, shipping, and contact information.
Facebook has also taken the half-step of giving users more insight into why they’re seeing certain ads, but it still doesn’t give users the option to control what information is being used for advertising to begin with.
Instead, this new policy encourages users to find out more about how they can control their add preferences to “personalize” the ads they see. In other words, Facebook wants users to help make its platform an even more powerful tool for advertisers by getting them to voluntarily say what types of ads they prefer.
Update: This story has been updated to show that all of Facebook’s privacy updates happened on Thursday.