Brussels threatens Facebook over data transparency

facebook 414The European Commission has warned Facebook it is losing patience with the social network’s failure to comply with new transparency rules, to tell its 380 million European users how it uses their data to make money.
Both Facebook and Airbnb were initially called on in February by the Commission – before the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke – to ensure their terms of service complied with European regulations. It told them to improve communication with users, so they have full knowledge of what is done with information gathered about them.
Airbnb has agreed to clarify its pricing system in response to complaints that it could mislead consumers but Facebook’s delaying tactics have infuriated EU Consumer Commissioner Věra Jourová, who said she is still waiting for results from long-running discussions with the firm over updating its terms of service.
In particular, the EU wants Facebook to give users more information about how their data is used and how it works with third party makers of apps, games and quizzes.
Jourová said: “My patience has reached its limit. While Facebook assured me to finally adapt any remaining misleading terms of services by December, this has been ongoing for too long. It is now time for action and no more promises. If the changes are not fully implemented by the end of the year, I call on consumer authorities to act swiftly and sanction the company.”
In response, Facebook said it updated its terms of service in May to include the “vast majority” of changes proposed by the Commission at that point. “Our terms are now much clearer on what is and what isn’t allowed on Facebook and on the options people have,” it said in a statement. It added that it would “continue our close co-operation to understand any further concerns and make appropriate updates”.

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