Facebook revises its terms and conditions in Europe

Facebook has agreed to change its terms and conditions in response to the European Commission’s call for greater transparency around the company’s business model.

According to a statement from the European Commission, Facebook will now clearly explain how it uses the data it collects on users to develop profiling activities and target advertising to finance the company.

“Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use,” said Vera Jourová, the commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality.

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

Facebook will introduce new text in its terms and services explaining that its business model is based on the sale of targeted advertising services to merchants based on data from user profiles.

Terms and conditions

A Facebook spokesperson confirmed the new terms and conditions will be applied universally.

Thomas Myrup Kristensen, Facebook’s managing director of EU affairs, said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work this year to better explain how Facebook works, what data we collect and how we use it. As part of these ongoing efforts, we’ll be updating our terms of service to be more clear about how Facebook makes money.

“Several of the updates are the result of our work with the European Consumer Protection Network (CPC), but we’ll be making the changes globally. We appreciate the CPC’s collaboration, and we’ll share more details on the updates when we roll them out in the coming months.”

The Commission said the social media firm would also amend its policy on the limitation of liability to acknowledge its responsibility in case of negligence, such as data being misused by third parties, and its power to “unilaterally” modify terms and conditions.

The temporary retention of content that has been removed by consumers will now only be retained in specific cases and only for a total of 90 days for technical reasons that would include having to comply with an enforcement request by an external authority.

The language used to clarify the right of users to appeal in cases where their content has been removed will also change, the Commission said.

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