Facebook has proposed changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities in response to a US District Court order to clarify how it uses user data for advertising.
As part of the settlement in a lawsuit against Facebook, the social network has proposed clarifications to two legal documents. Two years ago, Facebook was taken to court over its "Sponsored Stories" and sharing user information without users' knowledge or permission.
As part of the settlement, Facebook agreed "to provide greater disclosure and transparency as to when and how member's names and profile pictures are re-published, and to give them additional control over those events".
The proposed changes to two of its important legal documents — the Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities — are now available for review, with Facebook collecting feedback from its users.
The social network is not changing how it collects and uses data from its users, but has changed the wording of its documents to clarify how your information may be used.
The revised Rights and Responsibilities document (PDF) says (changes in red):
The website has also made significant changes to its Data Use Policy (PDF) in order to clarify how Facebook collects your information, which can include sending Facebook an email or using Facebook on your phone. For example, users on Facebook for Android have been recently noticing that Facebook has their phone number.
It has also clarified how it uses that information for advertising purposes, stating that all public information on the website — such as posts you have set to public, your location, your username and your photo — is free for them to use. Any posts or information you set to friends only is off limits, but any information your friends publicly share about you may also be used by Facebook.
Facebook has not made any mention of using photos or information in its own advertising; only that it uses that data to send users targeted advertising. It has also not announced any changes to its data usage — as far as the user is concerned, it should be business as usual.
Finally, Facebook has emphasised that it is not responsible for how information is used by third-party applications, reminding users that using an app gives that app permission to access their Facebook information from the time they start using an app to the time they remove it from their profile.
If you would like to provide feedback to Facebook on its revised policies, you can do so here.