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EU e-Privacy Directive

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Facebook to add new tools in response to EU privacy laws

Written by  Jan 23, 2018
COO Sheryl Sandberg also reiterates company’s promise to add 10,000 safety and security personnel, tackle fake news and end abuse

The changes will ‘make it much easier for people to manage their data,’ Sandberg said at a Facebook event in Brussels on Tuesday.

Facebook will roll out a new set of tools aimed at making it easier for users to make informed choices about their privacy in response to sweeping new European privacy laws, according to the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

“We’re rolling out a new privacy centre globally that will put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for people to manage their data,” Sandberg said at a Facebook event in Brussels on Tuesday.

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She said that the creation of a “privacy centre” was prompted by the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU regulation that seeks to give Europeans more control over their information and how companies use it.

“Our apps have long been focused on giving people transparency and control and this gives us a very good foundation to meet all the requirements of the GDPR and to spur us on to continue investing in products and in educational tools to protect privacy,” Sandberg said.

Companies found to be in breach of GDPR face a maximum penalty of 4% of global annual turnover or €20m (£17.77m), whichever is greater. In Facebook’s case, based on a total revenue of $27.6bn in 2016, the maximum possible fine would be $1.1bn.

Sandberg also said that the Facebook would work hard to end the abuse of its platform by those seeking to hurt the democratic process around the world, and tackle the problem of fake news. She reiterated the company’s promise to double the number of people working on safety and security to 20,000 by the end of the year.

“If we can prevent people from being part of our ad networks, prevent people from advertising and take away the financial incentive, that is one of the strongest things we can do against false news, and we are very focused on this.”

On Monday, the company published a series of blogposts accepting that it had been too slow to recognise the damage it was inflicting on democracies around the world. “I wish I could guarantee that the positives [of social media] are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can’t,” said Facebook product manager Samidh Chakrabarti.

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