On Friday, the social network unveiled a revised version of its policy, which was put together in consultation with a variety of privacy groups, policy makers and regulators. Though the substance of the document remains unchanged, Facebook's revamped policy is now presented in a noticeably more user-friendly layout; information is divided into smaller, more digestible sections, each of which is titled in more colloquial terms (e.g., "How advertising works," "Your information and how it is used").
Facebook's simplified approach to policy was designed with three objectives in mind: that it had to be easy for users to understand, that it had to be interactive, and that it had to address issues important to the Facebook community. According to Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum, the social network did a pretty good job of meeting its goals. "The new policy is much more of a user guide to how to manage your data," Polonetsky told the Wall Street Journal. "You might actually want to read this thing."
Basic as its language may be, some are worried that the drafted policy may leave some dangerously wide room for interpretation. The term "your information," for example, is defined as "the information that's required when you sign up for the site, as well as the information you intentionally share." But Nicole Ozer, a policy director at the ACLU of Northern California, points out that the site's definition makes no mention of geolocation data, IP addresses, or information embedded in shared photos.
"It is very good for companies to actually be making privacy policies easier to understand," Ozer told the Journal. "But users should be looking for privacy policies that are not only readable, but actually protect their privacy."
It's important to note that the draft posted on Friday is by no means a finished product. After having already consulted with "thousands" of experts, Facebook has decided to reach out to its users for their own feedback and suggestions. According to the company, the move marks a shift in its normal process of notice and comment, but because Facebook is "tackling a challenge that matters to so many people," the site wants to make sure that its users are directly involved in the process.
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