To that end, the company is slashing more than 6,000 words from its current policy, according to the Wall Street Journal; the new version is 2,700 words. Furthermore, Facebook has prettied up the presentation of the data policy with an interactive feature that offers answers to questions like “What kinds of information do we collect?” “How do we use this information? and “How is this information shared?”
“Our goal is to make the information about Facebook as clear as possible,” Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, told the Wall Street Journal. “Our hope is that it won’t take long for people to read through this and really get it.”
Facebook has also created a “Privacy Basics” tutorial that walks people through instructions on how to manage their information. This is a natural extension of efforts that Facebook has been making all year to simplify its communication about privacy issues, long a source of criticism and even legal action against the social network. In September it pushed a “Privacy Checkup” to all its users.
Facebook laid out the pertinent changes in a blog post today:
- Discover what’s going on around you: We’re updating our policies to explain how we get location information depending on the features you decide to use. Millions of people check into their favorite places and use optional features like Nearby Friends. We’re working on ways to show you the most relevant information based on where you are and what your friends are up to. For example, in the future, if you decide to share where you are, you might see menus from restaurants nearby or updates from friends in the area.
- Make purchases more convenient: In some regions, we’re testing a Buy button that helps people discover and purchase products without leaving Facebook. We’re also working on new ways to make transactions even more convenient and secure.
- Find information about privacy on Facebook at the moment you need it: To make them more accessible, we moved tips and suggestions to Privacy Basics and also have resources about our policies for advertisers and developers. Our data policy is shorter and clearer, making it easier to read.
- Understand how we use the information we receive: For example, understanding battery and signal strength helps make sure our apps work well on your device. We ask for permission to use your phone’s location to offer optional features like check-ins or adding your location to posts.
- Get to know how the family of Facebook companies and apps work together: Over the past few years, Facebook has grown and we want to make sure you know about our family of companies, apps and services. We use the information we collect to improve your experience. For example, if you’re locked out of your Instagram account, you can use your Facebook information to recover your password. Nothing in our updates changes the commitments that Instagram, WhatsApp and other companies have made to protect your information and your privacy.
- Your information and advertising: People sometimes ask how their information is shared with advertisers. Nothing is changing with these updates—we help advertisers reach people with relevant ads without telling them who you are.
Facebook also announced that it’s making its ad preferences tool available in additional countries, beginning with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the UK. Facebook is taking comments about the changes for the next seven days and plans to implement them 30 days after that.