Facebook updates data use policy


The Facebook logo is shown at Facebook headquarters in Palo Alto, California May 26, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (ROBERT GALBRAITH/REUTERS)

Facebook announced Thursday that it is making changes to its data use policy — formerly known as its privacy policy — and its statement of rights and responsibilities, the two main documents that govern the relationship between the network and its 1.15 billion users.

Users can review these changes on the Facebook Web site, and the company has posted a section by section breakdown of the proposed changes to the policies. While users are no longer able to vote on changes to Facebook’s policies, chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in a company blog post that the network is happy to field feedback from its users over the next seven days.

“As always, we will carefully consider your feedback before adopting any changes and we will post updates on the Site Governance page throughout the process,” Egan wrote in the post.

Changes include tweaks to the company’s data use policy that clarify how Facebook uses information provided by its users in advertiserments. The proposed changes include an explicit explanation that users’ name, profile picture and information such as brands they like can be used for “commercial, sponsored or related content.” An example of this would be that a business or other company could pay Facebook to display an individual users’ name and/or profile picture without compensating individual users. Those under 18 have to show that at least one parent or guardian has also agreed to those terms on behalf of any younger users.

The changes come shortly after the firm settled with Facebook users who complained that the company had abused their right to privacy by including some information in ads without notifying or compensating them.

Facebook spokeswoman Jodi Seth said that while some of the changes to the ads section of the data user policy are in response to the settlement, the company did not update its policies solely to respond to the recent case.

“We made a number of updates unrelated to advertising and we do these updates from time to time to keep people posted on policy and product changes,” Seth said in an e-mail to The Washington Post.

(Washington Post. Co. chairman Donald E. Graham is a member of Facebook’s board of directors.)

Follow The Post’s new tech blog, The Switch, where technology and policy connect.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.

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