Tuesday 12 December 2017

Facebook to display new banner explaining privacy rights to users

Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Facebook is start displaying new banner explaining privacy rights to some of its EU users due to a recommendation from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner.

The move, which is being rolled out in coming weeks, is aimed at new or unregistered users of Facebook who land on the service via Facebook.com.

"We’re providing people with an additional level of notice about how we use cookies to improve their experience on Facebook,” said a spokesman for the social networking giant. “This is the result of a recommendation from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner, our regulator in Europe. Our use of cookies remains unchanged, and people will continue to be able to learn about our use of this technology from any page on Facebook.”

The banner will be introduced to a small percentage of site visitors and will be expanded over time.

The company is at pains to say that this won’t affect most of its users, who have already given their agreement to the use of cookies as regular users.

Recently, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner told The Irish Independent that there were still some “issues outstanding” that it was ironing out with Facebook over its data privacy compliance across Europe.

“We are still looking at issues of social plugins, the sharing of data and notifications around cookies that have been dropped and whether they’re cookies that fall under the necessity exemption under the privacy directive or not,” Commissioner Helen Dixon told The Irish Independent.

The move will also serve to underline Facebook’s position that its European operations are regulated in Ireland and not in other European countries.

Last week, a German data protection commissioner warned the social networking company that its operations in Germany were subject to German regulators, not Irish ones.

“In this case, Facebook can not retreat to the position that the Irish Data Protection Act sets the standard here,” said Hamburg data commissioner Johannes Caspar. “Last year the ECJ blocked that position with case-law related to Google’s search engine. Facebook has economic activity in Germany with its branch in Hamburg. So if you like our game, you must play by our rules.”

Facebook employs almost 1,000 people in its Dublin office. Last week, it released bullish financial figures showing steady growth in user numbers with 1.49bn monthly active users and 968m daily active users.

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