Facebook is attempting to head off a potential fall out with regulators and a flood of requests from users once GDPR comes into force on May 25, by rolling out a new set of tools aimed at making it easier for users to make informed choices about their privacy.
The social media giant’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said a new global privacy centre, prompted by GDPR, will put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and claimed it will make it much easier for people to manage their data.
Sandberg said: “Our apps have long been focused on giving people transparency and control and this gives us a very good foundation to meet all the requirements of the GDPR and to spur us on to continue investing in products and in educational tools to protect privacy.”
As far back as 2014, Facebook has been defending its record on handling users’ personal data, claiming people are in charge of their own information.
But Dr Johnny Ryan, head of ecosystem at analytics firm PageFair, believes that Facebook – and Google for that matter – risk seeing their current business models disrupted when the new regulation is operational.
Although firms will have the right to process data to provide their services when consumers ask them to, he insists GDPR will not allow companies to use personal data for any further purpose unless permitted by users.
Dr Ryan says this means companies will have to ask for consent, or present an opt-out choice, at different times and for different services. She believes Facebook’s Audience Network is at risk because it requires the processing of personal data from users to target them on other websites. “It is unlikely that this will be regarded as a compatible use. Facebook will have to convince users not to opt-out,” said Ryan.
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