Ahead of tougher EU data laws, Facebook is sharing its privacy philosophy

Sheryl Sandberg on her European tour.
Sheryl Sandberg on her European tour.
Image: Reuters/Yves Herman
We may earn a commission from links on this page.

As it prepares for a massive update of privacy laws in the European Union later this year, Facebook announced tools for users to better control how their data is shared with others. The EU plans in May to implement new privacy laws, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Failure to comply could cost companies up to 4% of their annual revenue in fines.

The law, among other things, will put restrictions on what kind of data tech companies can collect, and it will make it easier for users to find out what personal data these companies hold on them. Coinciding with “Data Privacy Day,” Facebook Sunday released a series of data privacy announcements.

Facebook said that it will introduce a “privacy center,” a one-stop-shop within the platform for adjusting privacy settings. It’s also rolling out an education campaign to teach users how to protect their data, and it shared publicly its “privacy principles,” a set of broad ideas that govern the company’s thinking about data protection.

The principles emphasize that the user has control over their privacy, that the company builds privacy into its products, and that it helps people “understand how their data is used.” Facebook also said that “you own and can delete your information.”

“As technology becomes more sophisticated, and as people’s thinking about privacy becomes more sophisticated, they want to understand how their information is going to be used and they want to have control over it,” said Rob Sherman, the company’s deputy chief privacy officer.