Facebook to 'clearly explain' how it uses consumer data after facing EU pressure

Facebook is updating its terms of service in response to the European Commission's call for greater transparency around the social network's business model.

According to a statement from the European Commission, Facebook will now "clearly explain" how it uses consumer data to "develop profiling activities and target advertising to finance their company".

"Today Facebook finally shows commitment to more transparency and straight forward language in its terms of use," said Vera Jourová, the commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality.

"A company that wants to restore consumers trust after the...Cambridge Analytica scandal should not hide behind complicated, legalistic jargon on how it is making billions on people's data. Now, users will clearly understand that their data is used by the social network to sell targeted ads."

Facebook will add detailed text to its terms of service that explains it makes money by selling targeted ads. The European Commission has set the end of June as the deadline to implement the updates, otherwise Facebook could face sanctions.

Facebook's managing director of EU affairs, Thomas Myrup Kristensen, shared a statement confirming the company's cooperation.

“We’ve been doing a lot of work this year to better explain how Facebook works, what data we collect and how we use it. As part of these ongoing efforts, we’ll be updating our terms of service to be more clear about how Facebook makes money,” said Kristensen.

In addition to the transparency updates, Facebook plans to amend:

  • Its policies on liability surrounding cases of negligence, including data leaks from third-parties
  • Its power to "unilaterally" change terms and conditions
  • Its rules on temporarily retaining content deleted by consumers
  • Its language to clarify users' right to appeal when their content has been removed

The pressure to update stems from investigations surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which prompted the European Commission to push Facebook to be more transparent about its data practices.