Meta, the company behind Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp, has announced that it will be updating its privacy policy within the coming months. These changes are meant to make it easier for users to understand how their information is used behind the scenes.

This change in policy is seen as Meta’s way of responding to how it has been criticized by government regulators, privacy and legal advocates, and campaigners with regard to its use of its clients’ personal information.

For now, the changes will affect Facebook and Instagram only.

So, What’s New?

According to a company statement, these new changes will not give Meta the right to collect, use, or share user data outside of how it is currently being used. On the other hand, these will give users more control over how their information is used and processed.

One change gives people greater control as to who can see their posts. Likewise, current controls for determining which adverts users want to see may now be accessed under a single interface. 

Meta will also be updating its terms of service across all its products.

Clearer Explanations

According to Meta chief privacy officer Michel Protti, the changes to Meta’s privacy policies are meant to provide a better explanation as to what is expected of the company, its social media networks, as well as the people who use them.

Protti added that the changes would also include a revised policy as to when Meta could disable or shut down user accounts, as well as additional information as to the consequences for the user when their account is deleted.

He is quick to add that users don’t have to do anything regarding these policy changes, but those who don’t want to comply with the new policies are free to leave and disable or delete their accounts.

Ongoing Repercussions

Meta is still feeling shockwaves from how it has used its clients’ information over the past several years and the fallout from the 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal still rears its ugly head.

In March of this year, Meta was fined the equivalent of $18.24 million by the European Union for a serious breach of its data privacy laws back in 2018. 

On Monday, May 23rd, Karl Racine, attorney-general of Washington DC, formally filed a case against Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg for his involvement in the Cambridge Analytica debacle.

Company executives also note that regulatory pressure is expected to hamper its growth in the near future.

The changes to Meta’s privacy policies will take effect on July 26, 2022.