This article was published on August 29, 2013

Facebook lawsuit settlement prompts it to clarify how user content shows up in ads

Facebook lawsuit settlement prompts it to clarify how user content shows up in ads

Facebook on Thursday proposed updates (via TechCrunch) to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities to better explain how user content and personal information is put to use for its service.

Several changes to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities come as part of a recent settlement of a lawsuit that objected to the company including user Likes in its Sponsored Stories ads.

The company noted:

As part of this proposed update, we revised our explanation of how things like your name, profile picture and content may be used in connection with ads or commercial content to make it clear that you are granting Facebook permission for this use when you use our services.

In its section-by-section summary, Facebook also proposed an update explaining that Facebook will respect the wishes of users who want to limit their audience for these types of ads.

Additional updates to the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities include clarifications on the fact that Facebook apps will be updated and users are responsible for access fees, data charges and text messages.

Facebook’s proposed Data Use Policy provides additional information about what kind of personal information it collects and how it is put to use. Here are some of the key updates as described by the company:

  • Your information. We clarified that you share information with Facebook when you communicate with us, like when you send us an email.
  • Other information we receive about you.  We simplified the explanation for how we receive information and clarified the types of information we receive when you use or run Facebook, including from your devices, such as your IP address or mobile phone number.
  • Personalized ads. We rewrote the entire advertising section to better explain what we thought was important for people to know about how we use the information we receive to provide relevant ads to people on and off Facebook.

The company’s Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan summarized the updates in an interview with AllThingsD:

“We want to be really, really clear that whenever you give us information, we’re going to take it,” she said.

Users who would like to provide Facebook with feedback on the changes have seven days to leave comments.

Changes to these governing documents aren’t likely to directly address user objections to seeing their information show up in ads, but at least Facebook is being up front with us and is offering to respect our choices.

Proposed Updates to our Governing Documents (Facebook)

Photo credit: JOEL SAGET/AFP/Getty Images