Facebook has started implementing the changes to its Data Use Policy and Statement of Rights and Responsibilities proposed in August. The revision to its policies aim to clarify that the users are in full control in terms of what can be used by the social network on advertisements. The company has removed the proposed sentence to the update pertaining to assumption of permission from parents or guardians when teens sign up for an account. However, the social media company insisted that all they did was clarify the language used and that it has permission to use names, images, and information of its users, including teens.
The announcement of the policy update was done via the official blog of Facebook by its Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan.
"We proposed these changes because we thought we could improve the way we explain our policies. But your feedback was clear - we can do better - and it led to a number of clarifying edits...," said Egan.
"We also proposed an update that we thought would help facilitate conversations between teens and their parents about using Facebook. Specifically, we added a sentence that said if you are under the age of eighteen you have talked to your parent or guardian and they also agree to some of our terms. This language was about getting a conversation started; we were not seeking and would not have gained any additional rights as a result of this addition. We received feedback, though, that the language was confusing and so we removed the sentence," she explained to address issues about minors," the post stated.
Egan also used an example on her blog post to show how a user's information might be used. In her example, a certain Krishna Vudata liked a certain business called "Sweet Stop" on the network. When user "liked" a certain page, people in his lists might be able to see them, but the user can still limit who will be able to see his activities.
The controversial sentence created some buzz in August, protests from privacy groups and even caught the attention of lawmakers. The changes were also put on hold as regulators reviewed them. On November 15, Senator Edward Markey of Massachusetts called on other lawmakers to help protect the privacy of teens over the Internet.
The changes are also in line with the Federal Trade Commission's settlement with the company that prevents the latter from introducing changes to its privacy policies that may be deceptive to the public and implement such without being subjected to an independent review.
"The speed with which Facebook is pushing teens to share their sensitive, personal information widely and publicly online must spur Congress to act commensurately to put strong privacy protections on the books for teens and parents," Markey said.
Bills have been filed to help protect children on the Web. Such legislations may help prevent tech companies to collect information from minors as well as prevent them from tracking the user's location for those who are 15 or younger without the youngster's permission.