Commentary

Facebook Bows To World Pressure, Modifies Its Terms

In what is likely an attempt to stave off looming regulations, Facebook is making more concessions to governments worldwide.

For example, in the UK, Facebook just agreed to modify its terms and conditions to make its business practices clearer to users.

Vera Jourová, Europe’s consumer protection commissioner, seems pleased by the steps taken by Facebook.

“Today, Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straightforward language in its terms of use,” Jourová stated.

“A company that wants to restore consumers' trust after the Facebook/Cambridge Analytica scandal should not hide behind complicated, legalistic jargon on how it is making billions on people’s data,” she said. “Now, users will clearly understand their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads.”

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Per the new agreement, Facebook's terms will clearly explain its business model relies on selling targeted ad services to traders by using the data from the profiles of its users. 

The new terms detail those services Facebook sells to third parties -- which rely on user information and activity -- and how consumers can close their accounts.

Facebook has also amended its policy on limitation of liability; it will now acknowledge its responsibility in cases of negligence -- for instance, in cases where data has been mishandled by third parties.

Additionally, the company has agreed to modify its policy concerning the temporary retention of content that has been "deleted" by consumers. 

Going forward, such content can only be retained in specific cases involving law enforcement.

Facebook is expected to complete the implementation of its policy changes by the end of June.

The concessions come a day after Britain announced plans to place aggressive new regulations on the social-media industry.

Outlined in a new white paper, the proposal spans legislative and non-legislative measures and endeavors to make social networks more responsible for the safety of their users.

For his part, Mark Zuckerberg recently suggested he actually welcomed stricter industry regulations.

At home, the Federal Trade Commission recently launched a new task force to expose anti-competitive conduct among top technology companies.
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