Facebook adopts new privacy policy

The social-networking site hopes that policy revision will make the policy more accessible and easier to understand.

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Steven Musil
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Facebook on Tuesday announced that it has decided to adopt a revised privacy policy designed to be more accessible and easier to understand.

The social network had just completed a weeklong comment period for the new revision and, though "a lot of people participated," less than 7,000 members commented. According to Facebook's rules, this meant that a vote was unnecessary, Michael Richter, Facebook deputy general counsel, wrote in a company blog.

Overall, members supported the proposed changes, including the simplification of the language used to describe the policy and the document's new structure, Richter said.

The site also plans to add visual resources designed to make the document more accessible, such as a glossary of important terms and informational "learn more" videos. Facebook expects to post the revision in English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish soon.

The revision is the latest chapter in Facebook's privacy saga. In July, an investigation by Canada's privacy commissioner suggested that Facebook is unconcerned with members' privacy and called on it to do more. Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart expressed concern that while it's easy for members to deactivate their accounts, the process of actually deleting them is less clear. Facebook could therefore retain member data from deactivated accounts for an indefinite period of time, in violation of Canadian privacy law.

The social network went through a user backlash over the introduction of its News Feed in 2006, and a bigger one over the controversial Beacon advertising program in 2007. More recently, a revision to Facebook's terms of use prompted consumer advocacy blog The Consumerist to highlight language that it said meant that Facebook claimed ownership of user profile data and photos.