Facebook agrees to EU demand that it change misleading terms of service

EPA-EFE//LUONG THAI LINH

Facebook agrees to EU demand that it change misleading terms of service


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A change of terms from Facebook which will see the social media giant clarify its use of data for consumers was the result of intense pressure from the European Commission and consumer authorities.

Facebook’s updated terms were driven by the EU executive’s demand that the former needed to provide a full disclosure of the company’s business model to its users.

The European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, Vera Jourová welcomed the development by stating that, “Facebook has finally shown commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use”.

According to Jourová, by joining forces consumer authorities and the European Commission have now stood up for the rights of European consumers. ”The company (Facebook) wants to restore consumers’ trust after the Cambridge Analytica scandal and said it would not hide behind legalistic jargon on how it is making billions on people’s data. Users will now clearly understand that their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads.”

In the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook has had to concede to requests that it clearly informs consumers as to how its revenue is generated and how much its earning are derived from the use of consumer data, The Commission also requested that Facebook bring its terms of service in line with EU Consumer Law.

This change will see Facebook introduce additional text in its Terms and Services which will state that users are not charged for its services in return for users’ agreement to share data that exposes them to commercial advertisements. Facebook’s terms will now clearly explain that their business model relies on selling targeted advertising services to traders by using data from the profiles of users.

Facebook has also amended its policy on the limitation of liability and now acknowledges its responsibility in case of negligence, including in cases where data has been mishandled by third parties. This will limit its ability to unilaterally change terms and conditions by limiting it to cases where the changes take into account the interests of the consumer.

The temporary retention of content that has been deleted by consumers will only be retained in specific cases and only for a maximum of 90 days for technical reasons that would include having to comply with an enforcement request by an outside authority. The language used to clarify the right of users to appeal when their content has been removed will also change.

The EU executive said it will closely monitor the implementation of the new agreements with Facebook, who has vowed to become fully compliant with Brussels’ demands by the end of June.

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