Facebook to Change Privacy Policy and Terms of Service in 2015

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

Northfoto / Shutterstock.comFacebook is no stranger to controversy, and throughout 2014, the social media giant has added new features that make the platform better for marketers but has alarmed some privacy advocates. In response to some of the criticism, or perhaps to prepare consumers for more changes, Facebook will update their privacy policy and terms of service. They’ve also added a new section called Privacy Basics to help users navigate privacy options.

According to Facebook, the updates won’t affect the way Facebook shares information with advertisers. In the past year, Facebook new features that will let marketers reach people based on their proximity to local businesses or targeting that can follow users across devices. Regardless, Facebook says they help advertisers reach people with relevant ads without telling them who the people are.

“Over the past year, we’ve introduced new features and controls to help you get more out of Facebook, and listened to people who have asked us to better explain how we get and use information,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Now, with Privacy Basics, you’ll get tips and a how-to guide for taking charge of your experience on Facebook. We’re also updating our terms, data policy and cookies policy to reflect new features we’ve been working on and to make them easy to understand.”

In a nutshell, Privacy Basics is an interactive tool to help answer the most commonly asked questions about how users can control their information on Facebook. For example, users can easily learn about untagging, unfriending, blocking and how to choose an audience for each of your posts. And though some options are only available in the U.S., the information is available in 36 languages.

The changes in the policies and terms will better explain how Facebook gathers information from mobile devices and how the company works with other companies and apps. For example, if you ever wondered why the Facebook app needs permission to view the device’s battery strength or location, it’s covered in the new updates. They explain that understanding battery and signal strength helps make sure that apps work well on devices and they ask for permission to use the phone’s location so they can offer optional features, like check-ins or adding the location to posts.

Facebook is also giving users more control over the ads they see on their mobile devices. In the past, Facebook users on desktop browsers were the only ones who could opt out of certain types of ads. Besides being added to mobile, these features will also be exported to other countries, beginning with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK.

Users can implement the options from the Facebook website, the mobile website, as well as controls on their iOS and Android devices. Users can also can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites they use through the Digital Advertising Alliance.

Facebook has also made it easier for users to implement these options across their Facebook viewing experience. When a users selects to not see certain types of ads, the decision automatically applies to every device you use to access Facebook.

It’s difficult to predict the effect these changes will have on the way people use Facebook and the way they view the company as a whole. Even though Facebook has made it easier for people to learn about the privacy policy and terms of service, it doesn’t change the fact the company does hold a lot of data on consumers, and this tends to make people wary. As for usage, marketers shouldn’t be too concerned about privacy policies restricting their access to consumers. If there’s one thing Facebook loves more than changing their privacy policy, it’s making money. So advertisers will still be able to use the advanced targeting options that make Facebook an excellent platform for internet marketing.

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