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Facebook's data policy changes put your face front and center

Caitlin McGarry | Aug. 30, 2013
The social network clarifies its data use policies in the wake of a class-action lawsuit settlement.

Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has to pony up $20 million to settle a class-action lawsuit over how user information is incorporated in ads like the much-maligned--but hugely profitable--Sponsored Stories.

As part of the settlement, the company is proposing changes to its policies to clarify how your information is used.

The social network isn't really changing how it uses the data you hand over. It just wants to make those uses more clear.

You give information to Facebook all the time. It knows who your friends are, what you like, where you ate brunch last weekend, and much, much more. Facebook uses that data to make money--to show you highly targeted ads based on all of the above.

As part of the proposed changed, Facebook is now explaining that it gives such data to advertisers only after scrubbing "personally identifiable information."

Another major change: Facebook plans to use your profile photo to suggest tags of you in other photos. It's a bit unsettling that Facebook can figure out who you are in a photo and tell friends to tag you, but Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan told the Los Angeles Timesthat one upside to being tagged is knowing the photos exist. You can then untag yourself or ask your friend to take down the photo. The Times also notes that you can turn the feature off by changing your Settings.

The data use changes aren't official just yet--Facebook has posted the proposed policies on Facebook (of course) and is listening to user feedback. Grab your bowl of popcorn and wait for the boycott threats to roll in.



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