NEWS10 April 2019

Facebook revises terms in Europe

Data analytics Europe News Privacy Public Sector Technology

BELGIUM – Facebook is updating its terms of use to clarify how consumer data will be used, at the request of the European Commission.

Person holding phone with Facebook login screen

Among the changes to its terms and conditions, the company will clearly state that its business model is centred on targeted advertising based on user profile data, the European Commission said.

The social network has come under pressure from the commission and consumer protection groups to explain to users how it is funded and make sure that its terms of service are aligned with EU consumer law.

Vera Jourová, commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, said in a statement: "Facebook is finally pushing for more transparency and a clear language in its terms of use. If Facebook wants to restore consumer confidence after the scandal surrounding Cambridge Analytica, it should not disguise it behind coded legal jargon, as it earns billions with people’s data."

The company has also updated:

  • its liability strategy – it now acknowledges its responsibility in the event of a negligent breach
  • its power to modify the terms of use – limiting it to cases where changes are appropriate and taking consumer interests into account
  • the rules on temporary storage of content deleted by consumers – it can only be stored in certain cases, for example, to comply with an authority’s enforcement request (and for a maximum of 90 days)
  • the language that clarifies that users can appeal if their content has been removed.

Jourová added: "From now on, it is clear to users that their data will be used by the social network to sell customised advertisements. By pooling their forces, consumer protection authorities and the European Commission are committed to consumer rights in the EU."

Facebook needs to uphold its new commitments by the end of June 2019 – if it does not, it could face enforcement action such as sanctions.