Facebook Plays Cleverly Against New EU Privacy Rules

Last updated: July 5, 2023 Reading time: 3 minutes

The social networking platform, Facebook has confirmed Reuters on Tuesday to shift responsibilities for all the users outside US, Canada and the EU to its main offices in California from currently present international HQ in Ireland. This move comes along the affirmation from the company that “we apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland”.

However, this change comes into act when the EU aimed to protect user privacy through the plan of introducing new policy. According to the new regulation from EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDRP), companies that break user privacy will be liable to a fine of 4 % of their annual profits. This means that Facebook has to pay an amount around $1.6 billion if they break the law.

In a statement, the Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said that “We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live. These updates do not change that.” Yet, he did not clear the point that the US users would get the same protection as those in the EU.

According to the new EU laws, Facebook has to take permission from users before using their information for advertising purposes, but there will be no option to reject. Therefore, the social media platform will continue to use a user’s data based on their preference to show targeted ads and access to certain content will only be attainable if the user accept these terms via “permission screens”. These regulations will take effect next month.

The GDRP would affect almost 70% of the Facebook user base; however, the company is freed from following the EU guidelines after moving the users in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America from non-EU to US-governed terms and conditions. Facebook has initiated operations in Ireland in 2008 due to the low corporate tax rates.

In a blog post published on 17th April on Facebook, the statement was presented that, ”People in the EU will start seeing these requests this week to ensure they have made their choices ahead of GDPR coming into effect on May 25. As part of our phased approach, people in the rest of the world will be asked to make their choices on a slightly later schedule, and we’ll present the information in ways that make the most sense for other regions”. But, the affirmation of transferring users to US governed ToS ignited a question that the social media platform intends to exempt from the GDRP sanctions.

Following the Facebook plans, a complaint is filed in US on 6th April in which the Federal Trade Commission blamed Facebook for violating user privacy with a facial recognition tweak in privacy policy that allows company to scan photos for biometric data without user consent.

Defending all the situation, the Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman addressed reporters at Facebook corporate offices and said that the Facebook users could customize the settings through limiting the kind of data the advertisers use to target their pitches. However, they have no option for completely opting out. Further, he said that, “People can choose to not be on Facebook if they want.”

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About the Author

Zehra Ali is a Tech Reporter and Journalist. She has done her Masters in Mass Communication. Topics related to cybersecurity, IoT, AI, Big Data and other privacy matters are extensively covered by her on various platforms. You can follow her on twitter.

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