Facebook says it will launch new privacy tools ahead of GDPR

24 Jan 2018

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Image: Krista Kennell/Shutterstock

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg announced the launch of new privacy tools at a Brussels event.

The General Data Protection Regulation, (GDPR) is a landmark overhaul of personal data privacy and the 25 May deadline is fast approaching.

An increase in transparency around the personal information of EU data subjects is a major aspect of the regulation, and many companies and organisations will need to provide more control for individual users.

Facebook introducing new privacy tools

Facebook is one of the world’s largest firms and its COO, Sheryl Sandberg, said the company will be rolling out a new privacy centre across the world “that will put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for people to manage their data”.

Speaking at a Facebook event in Brussels on Tuesday 23 January, Sandberg said that Facebook’s suite of apps “have long been focused on giving people greater 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”.

Many companies that use data within their businesses are going to have to re-examine their privacy and data policies in order to comply with the regulation or face heavy fines.

Sandberg admits more could have been done

Reuters reported that Sandberg admitted Facebook had not done enough to stop the abuse of its platform, with the COO adding that the number of people on its safety and security team would be doubled to 20,000 by the end of 2018.

Sandberg’s comments come following admissions from Facebook staff, including civic engagement product manager Samidh Chakrabarti who said that the company was “far too slow to recognise how bad actors were abusing our platform”.

Facebook’s COO also said the company was looking into ways to remove the financial incentive for people to create click-generating fake news content, adding that the firm was “very focused” on the issue.

This move from Facebook comes after the EU released findings from the third evaluation of its Code Of Conduct, which social media companies must abide by.

The code deals with the fast flagging and removal of hate speech and extremist content by major social media firms and the most recent findings show a major improvement in terms of these companies self-policing content.

Facebook has had complex dealings in Europe previously. Along with Twitter, the company was among a group of firms told by the EU last year that their terms of service needed to be clearer.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Image: Krista Kennell/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects