Wednesday 13 December 2017

Data protection group seeking change to Facebook privacy policy

Peter Flanagan New Technology Correspondent

THE Data Protection Commission (DPC) has asked Facebook to alter the changes it plans to make to how it uses people's data and shares.

The DPC said it was seeking an "urgent" meeting with Facebook last week after it emerged the social network plans to change the way it processes information and possibly limit users' rights.

The DPC has asked Facebook to implement a number of alterations to the changes it is planning.

A spokesman for the DPC said it had been "informed by Facebook Ireland" of a number of modifications it wanted to make to its privacy policy.

"We sought clarification from Facebook on these proposals and have asked the company to modify its proposals," the spokesman added.

Any DPC decision on how Facebook should manage its data would affect hundreds of millions of the website's users in Europe.

The DPC is Facebook's regulator on the continent because its European headquarters is based in Dublin.

Currently, if Mark Zuckerberg's business wants to make changes to its website, and receives 7,000 "substantive" comments from users critical of the change, then Facebook is mandated to allow users to vote on whether the change should go ahead.

Under the new proposal, that right to vote would be abolished, while the company also wants to share the data of its one billion users with Instagram, the photo sharing app it bought earlier this year. That would allow the company to push more relevant ads to specific users.

In a blog post on the changes, Facebook said data "from our affiliates or our advertising partners", would be used to "tell us information about you" and "improve the quality of ads".

The proposed changes are at the preliminary stage and do not effect users yet, but the DPC could force Facebook to seek agreement from its users before making the changes permanent.

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