Meta rewrites, redesigns privacy policy with 'more plain, shorter' sentences | Inquirer Technology

Meta rewrites, redesigns privacy policy with ‘more plain, shorter’ sentences

/ 09:02 PM May 26, 2022

Meta updates its Privacy Policy

Meta updates its Privacy Policy. Screengrab from Meta briefing

MANILA, Philippines — Meta, the parent company of social media platform Facebook, has rewritten and redesigned its privacy policy in a bid to make it easier to read and understand by using shorter sentences and “more plain” language, among others.

“If you take a random sampling of any privacy policy out there, more often than not, there are long dense walls, complex text that actually isn’t very readable,” Rob Sherman, vice president and deputy chief privacy officer at Meta, said in an online press briefing on Thursday.

“Despite the length, it’s often too hard to fully understand. With this update, we’ve made our privacy policy much easier to understand,” he added.

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To do this, Sherman told reporters that Meta updated the language in its privacy policy “from a college level to a secondary school comprehension.”

“We use shorter sentences and more plain language and we embedded more examples,” he said.

The tech company also undertook a redesign of its privacy policy by incorporating “bold colors and design cues” as well as breaking up texts with images and videos to make it easier for users to navigate, Sherman said.

It was also updated to make it “more actionable.”

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This means that Meta integrated privacy settings throughout the app in order for users to continue managing their privacy, he added.

“In approaching this work, it was clear to us that complex terms of service and privacy policies have been the industry standard for so long and increasingly we’re seeing more demand from regulators and privacy legislation from those policies to be even more comprehensive,” Sherman said.

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“Going forward, our aim is to update our policies more frequently as we continue to have these kinds of conversations and learn what areas we can continue to improve,” he added.

Sherman, however, clarified that the update does not give Meta “new rights” to a user’s data.

“This redesign is all about making our existing practices easier to understand and navigate, including the new privacy controls, and allowing people to make informed decisions using those controls,” he said.

“So, even though this update doesn’t change our privacy practices, it is still important to us that people notice and understand it. So we’re translating this to more than 60 languages, similar to what we do today,” he added.

The update covers Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, and other Meta Products. According to Sherman, the update will take effect on July 26 but users will now receive notifications regarding this.

Meta rewrites, redesigns privacy policy with 'more plain, shorter' sentences

Meta updates its Privacy Policy. Image courtesy of Meta communications team

Terms of service, privacy controls

Aside from its updated privacy policy, Meta said it has also updated its Terms of Service “to better explain what is expected from us and those who use our platforms.”

“These expectations include the rights and obligations described in our Community Standards, for example when we may disable or terminate accounts that violate our Terms or Community Standards or others’ intellectual property rights or other laws,” Michel Protti, Meta’s chief privacy officer, said in a news release.

“Some Terms of Service changes match updates to our Privacy Policy, including additional details about what happens when you delete content,” he added.

Meta also launched two new privacy controls, one of which provides users with new ways to manage the advertisements that pop up on their news feed.

“Recently, we consolidated the Ad Topics and Interest Categories controls into a single control that can be accessed on Facebook and Instagram, covering a more extensive set of ad topics,” Protti said.

“This allows people to use a single control to set preferences across ad topics that reflect the interest targeting categories advertisers may use to reach them and the content they might see in an ad,” he added.

The tech giant also rolled out a new privacy control for easier management on who gets to view a user’s post.

The new privacy control will enable users to select a “default audience” which will apply to new posts unless a different audience is selected for a particular post.

“Previously, your default audience for posts matched whichever audience you chose most recently. So if you had just made a post that was available to the public, your subsequent posts would be as well. This new setting will help make sure you’re sharing with the right people in your community,” Protti explained.

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TOPICS: Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, Meta, nation, News, Privacy Settings
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