Facebook Privacy Boosted Again After Irish Pressure

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe's Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

New users will be given more education during the signing up process

Facebook has yet again moved to improve privacy on the site, thanks to pressure from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office.

Ireland is the home of Facebook in Europe. It is where users can direct their complaints over Facebook privacy and was where Austrian law student Max Schrems applied to have all his Facebook data delivered to him.

Having received various complaints on Facebook privacy, the Irish DPC looked into the social network and made a number of reccomendations.

Facebook privacy improvements

The latest push has seen Facebook add “more prominent and detailed educational privacy information to new users” at the point where they sign up.

“We’ve implemented these enhancements as part of our broader effort to integrate more privacy education into the new user experience. We appreciate the guidance on this effort that we’ve received from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner’s Office,” a blog post from Facebook read.

New users will receive specific education on topics including:

  • Default settings
  • Selecting an audience for information shared on Timeline
  • Access to their data
  • How they interact with applications, games, and websites
  • How ads works on the site
  • Tagging people and things
  • Finding friends on Facebook through search and contact importers

“We’ve also added in-line privacy controls to the new user experience so that people can select an audience for their High School, College/University, and Employer as they sign up for Facebook,” Facebook added.

In September, Facebook announced it was to ditch facial recognition technologies in Europe, following pressure from the Irish DPC.

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