customer experience: Facebook policy feedback

Facebook is asking for feedback on how member information should be used following a court settlement that is forcing the social network to change its Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and Data Use Policy.

A Changed Policy, a More Knowledgeable Member

In the court case which was resolved on Tuesday, Facebook was being sued for using member information, such as pages liked, in targeted ads without permission or notification. While many of those involved in the suit ended up receiving only US$ 15 in compensation, Facebook also has to make sure that its members know how their information could be used. According to Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer of Policy this is what the company is trying to do through the proposed changes and clarifications.

In the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities advertisements section, the network has explained that as a Facebook member, users give the company permission to use their name, profile picture and information to promote other relevant content, such as in an ad for a brand the person has liked. This can be done without first notifying or compensating the member. The updated policy also notes that if a person has viewing limitations on their profile, the information used will also reflect that privacy setting. For example, only friends will see that a person liked a page if there profile is set to 'Friends Only.'

The policy also clarified what it means to use the Facebook mobile app: that the term ‘use’ means any time a person is on Facebook, and terms related to special provisions for software and provisions for users who are outside of the United States.

On the data policy side, Facebook has clarified how a user is targeted based on their social activity, how users can control the types of ads they see on their newsfeed and profile and that advertisers might be able to reach a person on Facebook based on, for example, external sites they've previously visited.

Other issues such as how Facebook can get information from its members, how information is shared with service providers and how suggestion features work were also clarified.

Read the Fine Print

While this feedback request might suggest Facebook is changing how it communicates with its members, Jennifer Van Grove says this isn't true.

When it comes to advertising, Facebook hasn't changed its ways, but is instead trying to explain its practices and resolve for some previous ambiguity that upset some people so much that they sued the social network.”

Josh Ong seems to agree with this overarching idea.

Changes to these governing documents aren’t likely to directly address user objections to seeing their information show up in ads, but at least Facebook is being up front with us and is offering to respect our choices,” he wrote.

It’s not known when exactly these changes will take effect, but Egan noted that members have seven days to respond to the proposal by commenting below her announcement.