Facebook Tries To Avoid Battles In Europe With Further Privacy Protections

Eric Lieberman | Associate Editor

Facebook announced a new plan to be as ostensibly transparent as possible when it comes to management of user data, in preparation for an imminent strict European law.

The social media giant is launching a number of new initiatives, like “a new education campaign” for people to know how it uses their data, as well as ways for them to take more control of the information. The company is creating a “privacy center” where all related settings can be found in one place on the website.

“We’re also inviting people to take our Privacy Checkup and sharing privacy tips in education campaigns off Facebook, including ads on other websites,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, wrote in a blog post. “We’re also developing resources that help other organizations build privacy into their services.”

Facebook directly references the European Union’s impending General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), a law intended to strengthen privacy protections with certain requirements. The GDPR goes into effect May 25, and Facebook’s roll-out of new measures shows it is at least seemingly trying to prepare for potential compliance complaints from the EU and its governing body, the European Commission, or avoid any accusations of violations in the first place.

“Throughout 2018 we’re hosting workshops on data protection for small and medium businesses, beginning in Europe with a focus on the new General Data Protection Regulation,” Egan continued. “We hosted our first workshop in Brussels last week and published a guide for frequently asked questions. Around the world we’ll continue to host Design Jams that bring designers, developers, privacy experts and regulators together to create new ways of educating people on privacy and giving them control of their information.”

Whether or not Facebook’s new privacy project in general is done out of appeasement and acquiescence or a genuine public interest, what’s clear is that Europe is clamping down on U.S.-based tech powerhouses and Silicon Valley is, for the most part, giving in — a trend that is starting to grow with palpability.

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