Facebook buckles over EC data transparency demands

facebook 1Facebook has finally bowed to pressure from the European Commission and consumer protection authorities to be more transparent over how it uses and finances its users’ data for profiling and targeted advertising.
In an update to its terms of service, the company is to describe in detail which of Facebook’s services to third parties are based on the use of consumers’ data, how consumers can close their accounts and with what justification accounts may be disabled.
This is the result of discussions calling for the full disclosure of Facebook’s business model in a clear and simple language, the Commission said.
Both Facebook and Airbnb were initially called on in February last year 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 agreed to clarify its pricing system but Facebook’s delaying tactics infuriated EU Consumer Commissioner Věra Jourová. In September, she blasted: “My patience has reached its limit.”  
However, she has welcomed the company’s change of heart. Jourová said: “Today, Facebook is finally pushing for more transparency and a clear language in its terms of use. If Facebook wants to restore consumer confidence after the scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, it should not disguise it behind coded legal jargon, as it earns billions with people’s data.
“From now on, it is clear to users that their data will be used by the social network to sell customised advertisements. By pooling their forces, consumer protection authorities and the European Commission are committed to consumer rights in the EU. ”
Facebook has until the end of June 2019 to implement the changes or face enforcement action and potential sanctions.

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