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Facebook explains how it gets and uses information with privacy policy update

13 Nov 2014

Social media giant Facebook has again updated its privacy policy, after users requested the company to better explain how it gets and uses information, paving the way for a broader payments push and more targeted ads.

As part of the revamp, Facebook introduced Privacy Basics, a tool that gives users tips and a how-to guide for taking charge of their own experience on Facebook, as well as a shorter and clearer privacy policy.

“Privacy Basics offers interactive guides to answer the most commonly asked questions about how you can control your information on Facebook” says Egan. “For example, you can learn about untagging, unfriending, and blocking, and how to choose an audience for your posts”.

This information will be available in 36 languages.

The company is also proposing updates to their terms, data policy, and cookies policy to reflect new features, while trying to more clearly explain how its services work, says Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer.

The update to its policies aims to explain how Facebook gets location information, depending on the features someone uses. "For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area," Egan says.

Additionally, Facebook is experimenting with the way people make purchases. As well as the buy button that Facebook is testing in some regions to allow people to make purchases without leaving the platform, it is also working on new ways to make transactions more convenient and secure.

Furthermore, Facebook is showing interest in understanding battery and signal strength of users' devices ‘in order to make sure our apps work well’. It will ask permission to use phone location "to offer optional features like check-ins or adding your location to posts," Egan says.

While the social network says it will continue to improve the way it serves ads based on the apps and sites its users EMPLOY, opting out of targeted ads will get easier.

Egan says they are doing more to let users control the types of ads they see if you use multiple devices and browsers. “We know that many people use more than one phone, tablet, or browser to access Facebook, so it should be easy for you to make a single choice that applies across all of your devices”.

Users can opt out of seeing ads on Facebook based on the apps and sites they use through the Digital Advertising Alliance. Users can also opt out using controls on iOS and Android. When users decide they don’t want to see certain types of ads, the decision automatically applies to every device they use to access Facebook.

“Protecting people’s information and providing meaningful privacy controls are at the core of everything we do, and we believe today’s announcement is an important step. We look forward to hearing people’s feedback and continuing to build the trust people have in Facebook”.

Egan also reassured people who may worry about what the updates mean for what kind of data Facebook shares with advertisers. "Nothing is changing with these updates; we help advertisers reach people with relevant ads without telling them who you are," she says.

For the next 7 days, users will be able to submit comments and suggestions about the updates.

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