If you’ve been paying any attention to the news this week, you would have noticed that CEO and co-founder of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, has spent time before the U.S. Congress.
Zuckerberg was there to answer an array of questions about the types of user data Facebook collects, and whether Facebook’s users are aware of the collecting it does.
For much of the discussion, Mark Zuckerberg dodged the questions about privacy and user understanding on Facebook, instead choosing to talk about the choices the users do have when they share information.
Facebook can track a user’s activity on apps and services, the pages you like, the information on your profile, the links you share and the places you have visited. In Facebook’s settings, you can opt out of letting the social media network track your browsing habits across the internet.
However, until only recently, Facebook’s privacy settings were predominately about how much information other users could see, rather than what Facebook can collect. Everything relating to advertisements and internet tracking was stored in an entirely separate advertisements settings page, of which was more difficult to find. This has now been changed.
In layman’s terms, the issue lies in how a Facebook user can determine what they allow to be public, private or only seen by specific people, but these settings do not apply to advertisers, developers and Facebook itself.
If you would like to disable targeted ads on your Facebook account, go to your settings on a desktop PC. Click ‘Ads’ on the left-hand side and scroll down to Ad Settings. You’ll notice that both options are automatically turned on and selected ‘Yes’, but you’re free to turn them off. Turning off internet-based ads will mean you will still see the same number of adverts whilst on Facebook, but they may be less relevant to you. Or otherwise known as, Facebook no longer having the right to track what you’re doing online and advertise to you based on this.
It’s now likely that the congress will revisit individual control of privacy, particularly considering the upcoming GDPR changes in the EU. However, the way digital economy privacy is held in the U.S. is of a complete different standard to the EU, so it could be difficult to extend GDPR regulations to U.S. citizens.
For more information, you can keep in touch with the latest goings-on here. To talk to a member of the team about the latest GDPR regulations, or any of our other services, you can contact a member of the team via our contact page.