Facebook’s New Privacy Policy

The night before Thanksgiving at around midnight Eastern Standard Time, Facebook sent out a notice regarding changes to its privacy policy, or as they like to call it, “Data Use Policy”. There are three main changes to the policy that are important to understand if you are going to be using the site:

  1. You are not going to be allowed to vote on policy changes anymore.
  2. Now, Facebook is allowed to share “information with affiliates”. Basically, Facebook will now be able to build unified profiles of users with information from all companies that it owns, like Instgram. Those drunken Thanksgiving Eve photos that you Instagrammed? Facebook can now use them to build a more complete profile of you and use that information to create an external ad network. 
  3. Additionally, Facebook is altering the way private messages function. They are in the process of changing your ability to block users from sending you private messages. Facebook wants to have filters for managing messages as opposed to the “Who can send you Facebook message” setting. Some are concerned that this will leave users with unwanted spam-like messages. 

You may have noticed a lengthy status update written in legalese cluttering your Facebook news feed for the past few days. As a response to these new privacy changes, many users have been posting a “copyright protection notice” as their Facebook status updates. This is not the first time a status like this has gone viral. However, nobody seems to realize that this is not effective on Facebook. The user agreement is the only binding legal contract between Facebook and user. If you are concerned about copyright, the best way to protect your work is to not post anything that you would not be willing to share with Facebook and its affiliate companies. If you are a business present on the social networking site, be sure to consult with a reputable social media agency for best practices.