To do that, Facebook has taken some information on how the site itself works -- and how users can set their privacy on Facebook -- and created a new "Privacy Basics" page that walks users through its most-used privacy features. That includes step-by-step instructions on how to control who sees posts you create or items you "like."
At this point, Facebook users may be a little frustrated by just how much and how often their privacy settings have changed. But the company's chief privacy officer Erin Egan said that Facebook has to change its policy to reflect changes the company makes to its services and to make the privacy policies as clear as possible.
"This is a continued effort," Egan said. "We want to provide information to people in a clear and concise manner."
In terms of the actual policy, many of the changes are cosmetic. The data use policy will now be displayed on an interactive, colorful site aimed at making it easy to navigate.
But there are some changes to the language, as well -- again aimed at making it easier to understand. In the old policy, for example, "public information" was defined as "the information you choose to make public, as well as information that is always publicly available." In the new policy, Facebook explains it like this:
Public information is any information you share with a public audience, as well as information in your Public Profile, or content you share on a Facebook Page or another public forum.
The changes don't exactly make the policy easy reading. They do, however, get rid of some of the confusing legalese. Some of the organizational changes can make it a little more difficult to figure out how Facebook may use a particular piece of information. For example, users now have to read through two sections -- "What kinds of information do we collect?" and "How do we use this information?" -- to get a full picture of how their data are shared. But it also makes the whole thing more digestible.
Facebook is also adding some things to its data use policy to reflect changes that it's made to the site. For example, the company now accepts payments over Facebook. So the company has added an explicit section in its data policy about how it handles payment information.
One thing that went unchanged was how the company uses data for research -- despite the fact that the company faced a backlash over a mood study it conducted. Egan said that the current guidelines, which give Facebook the broad right to conduct "research," remain effective.
As per Facebook's usual way of operating, the changes are only a proposal for now. Users will have seven days to comment on the policy changes, which Facebook will then review before making the policy final. Once Facebook's announces its final changes, the policy will take effect in 30 days.
Facebook is also rolling out a tool that lets users give Facebook more information about ads they do -- or don't -- want to see on the site in Europe. This option had previously only been available in the United States. Egan said that Facebook users will also be able to apply their ad preferences, such as requests to opt out of seeing personalized ads, across mobile and desktop devices -- something that they can't do now.