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After Twitter, Meta announces simplified privacy policy

After Twitter, Meta announces simplified privacy policy
Photo Credit: Pixabay
26 May, 2022
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After TwitterFacebook parent company Meta Platforms has “re-written and redesigned” its privacy policy, earlier known as data policy, to make it simple and easy to comprehend for lay users. Meta said that the privacy policy now has shorter sentences, simple language, and “more detailed explanations” on how the social media network is using and sharing information with third parties.

The redesign does not change any of the social network’s existing data collection and sharing practices, Meta added. 

The new privacy policy will be linked to the Privacy Center where users can learn about the company’s privacy practices across apps and technologies. Meta said that it will keep adding guides and controls to the privacy centre in the coming months.

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Meta has also updated its Terms of Service to make it easier for users to understand how the community guidelines work so they are better informed about the practices that can lead to termination or suspension of their accounts.

Also read: Twitter’s ‘simple’ privacy policy gains mixed reactions from users, experts

In addition to the redesign, Meta has also released two new controls that will be available right away. The audience control will make it easier for users to choose specific audiences who can see their posts. The ad management control will allow users to set preferences that reflect the interest-based targeting categories for advertisers.

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Meta said that it will start sending notifications on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger to ensure users are aware of the update, which will come into effect from July 26. The update will apply to Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger apps. It won’t apply on the company’s other platforms such as WhatsApp, Workplace, Messenger Kids, or Quest devices as they have their separate privacy policies.

Rob Sherman, deputy chief privacy officer at Facebook acknowledged in a media call that most privacy policy is a dense wall of text that isn’t actually that readable and hard to fully understand. “With this update, we have made our privacy policy easier to understand. We rewrote it, bringing language from college level to secondary school. We used short sentences, bold colours and images to brighten up the text,” he added.

Sherman further said, “We have conducted a series of global consultations with privacy experts, policymakers, and users to get feedback on how to make our policies more useful for people who use our products. These updates are based on that feedback.”

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This isn’t the first time Meta has updated the design of the privacy policy to make it clearer. In 2018, Facebook updated it to make its terms and data policy clearer to users.

Making privacy policy pages “concise, transparent, intelligible, and easily accessible” for the benefit of social media users has been one of the key mandates of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, India’s proposed data protection bill doesn’t specifically ask for it.

Privacy experts have also emphasised the importance of a clearer privacy policy as it helps users understand how their data is being used and enables them to make informed choices.

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Early this month, when Twitter announced its new privacy policy, it also emphasised that the objective of the update was to move away from legal jargon in favour of a clear language. Twitter also released an online game called Data Dash to gamify the process and simplify the “more complex parts of the privacy policy.”