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Facebook will give users a bunch of info on privacy — here’s what it all means

These screens will be appearing on Facebook users' profiles in the coming weeks. Facebook handout

Facebook users demanded more transparency in the aftermath of the Cambridge Analytica data abuse scandal — and now the social media platform is attempting to deliver on that.

Users will be receiving additional information on their privacy settings in the coming days, Facebook’s chief privacy officer Erin Egan said in a news release Thursday.

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Egan explained users will see a screen on their news feed prompting them to read up on topics such as advertising, facial recognition and the information they share with others.

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It’s similar to what European Union residents saw under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), but now it will be for people around the world.

Facebook will share “customized messages” with users on the following topics:

  • How Facebook uses data to pick ads
  • Political, religious and relationship information that users have shared
  • Facial recognition — how it works and how to disable it
  • Updated terms of service and privacy policies

“People will see a summary of the choices they’ve already made and won’t see information about features they’ve already disabled or decided not to use,” the news release explained.

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How data is used

Facebook will explain that the information it collects from “you and your interactions with our partners” is used to help decide which ads you will see.

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Users can turn this off by hitting the “manage data setting” option, then selecting the “not allowed” option.

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If you turn the setting off, you’ll still see the same amount of ads, but they won’t be based on your activity.

Canadians who want to go a step further can also take steps such as blocking ads and clearing cookies.

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Information users share

“You decide what profile information you share with others,” Facebook says in the upcoming update.

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It will then explain to users who have “sensitive” information, such as religious or political reviews, or sexual orientation, to think again whether they want to share it.

Users who want to rethink their decision can click on the “manage data settings” option.

Facial recognition

Facebook announced in April that facial recognition will become available to Canadians.

Facebook billed its facial recognition software as needed to help increase privacy on the website.

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It explained that it could detect if someone else is using your image as their profile photo. The feature also enables Facebook to suggest friends to tag in videos and photos.

But the company assures that turning the feature on is “entirely optional” for those who don’t want Facebook to memorize their facial features. Users can opt in or out of the feature.

The updates users will be receiving will provide two options:

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“Allow Facebook to recognize me in photos and videos,” and “Don’t allow Facebook to recognize me in photos and videos.”

Here’s more information about whether you should opt-in or opt-out.

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