Facebook adjusts privacy settings

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The company praises the European General Data Protection Regulation and wants to implement its requirements worldwide. The deactivated in Europe face recognition introduces Facebook again, if optional.

Facebook responds to the European Data Protection Regulation (EU GDPR), which will apply from 25 May, and adjusts its privacy settings accordingly. The announced changes affect first all users in Europe, but will later be introduced in all other regions.

This week, the social network starts asking its European users about forms for using their data. Anyone who has disclosed sensitive information in their profile, such as relationships or political and religious beliefs, should opt for the further use of this data – whether he continues to share them and Facebook wants to allow the use.

It is also possible to choose whether personal data obtained from Facebook partners should be used for personalized advertising. For example, this refers to data that the company collects through like buttons on other websites and apps. Facebook also provides revised business and privacy policies for approval, which have been adapted to the GDPR

The European requirements also affect minors in particular. For example, users between the ages of 13 and 15 in some EU countries require parental or guardian permission for some Facebook features. Without them, these teenagers will therefore receive a less personalized version of Facebook in the future and may reveal less information about themselves.

With the changes, Facebook is also reintroducing face recognition in Europe, which was not available here in recent years. In September 2012, the company had given in to the pressure of privacy advocates and renounced the automatic face recognition, which previously allowed labeling of people on photos that were uploaded to the social network. Now facial recognition is also available to European users, although explicitly optional and not for users under the age of 18. Finally, his face recognition technology helps to protect privacy, Facebook argues – because it can be found out when others use their own image as their profile picture.

Even at an investor conference in January Facebook had seen in the DSGVO above all disadvantages. The regulations could lead to a decrease of active users in Europe and promote the deselection of targeted advertising, it said at that time. However, as the ongoing privacy scandals have garnered increasing political attention, the social network is discovering the good sides of the GDPR and is now emerging as a pioneer of privacy and privacy.

As an “opportunity to invest even more in data protection”, the company describes the European regulation today. “We not only want to comply with the law, but go beyond our commitments to create new and improved privacy experiences for everyone on Facebook.”

However, critical observers did not fail to notice that while Facebook’s options are somewhat more transparent, they do not really provide more control than they did before. It still remains remarkably easy to allow the company a large data usage – and always a little more cumbersome to restrict or prohibit this. For example, facial recognition is quickly approved, for example, by clicking once on a large blue button. For refusal, however, it is necessary to go to the “Edit data settings” page and explicitly deselect facial recognition.

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