European Union Sets Deadline For Facebook Changes

The European Commission has told Facebook to make changes to its terms of service by the end of the year or face sanctions.

The dispute is one of several between Facebook and the Commission, with others notably including the company’s involvement in the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

At issue in the current case are changes the Commission asked Facebook and other companies, including Airbnb and Twitter, to make to comply with European consumer protection laws.

In Facebook’s case, the changes are concerned with clarifying to users the ways in which their data is used.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg. Image credit: Facebook


The Commission demanded the changes in February and repeated them in July, but says Facebook has delayed coming into compliance.

By contrast, Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova said she had reached an agreement with Airbnb over a clearer presentation of charges.

Airbnb has agreed to make the modifications, which are aimed at helping users avoid unexpected charges such as cleaning fees, by the end of the year.

Facebook said it had made changes and would continue to cooperate.

But Jourova said she had lost patience after nearly two years of discussions.

“Progress is not enough for me, I want to see results,” Jourova said at a news conference. “We cannot negotiate forever.”

Consumer ‘deception’

The Commission said that while Facebook has made changes, it continues to tell consumers that their data and content “is used only to improve their overall ‘experience’”, while failing to mention that the company uses the data for commercial purposes, selling it to third parties.

Jourova said she would call on EU member states’ consumer authorities to take “swift” action against Facebook in the new year if the changes were not “fully implemented” by then.

Facebook said an update to its terms of service in May addressed “the vast majority” of the issues that had been raised.

“Our terms are now much clearer on what is and what isn’t allowed on Facebook and on the options people have,” Facebook said.

It added it would work in “close cooperation” with regulators to “understand any further concerns” and make updates.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

Recent Posts

Boeing Starliner Launches Successfully, On Route To International Space Station

Boeing's crewless space taxi, CST-100 Starliner, one step closer to NASA certification, as it enters…

2 days ago

Apple Accused By Union Of Staff Law Violations At NY Store

Staff at Apple's World Trade Centre store in New York are allegedly being questioned and…

2 days ago

Canada To Join Five Eyes 5G Ban On Huawei/ZTE

Making it official. Canada is to turn its unofficial ban on 5G kit from Huawei…

2 days ago

Twitter To Hide Tweets That Share False Information During A Crisis

Potentially risking Elon's wrath over free speech, Twitter says it will hide tweets spreading misinformation…

3 days ago

Boeing Starliner Test Flight Readied For Tonight

Third time the charm? Main rival to SpaceX's Dragon capsule, the embattled Boeing Starliner spacecraft,…

3 days ago

September 13 Slated For iPhone 14 Launch – Report

No surprise there. Apple is slated to launch the iPhone 14 on 13 September according…

3 days ago