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Meta rolls out redesigned privacy policy; Indian users can choose not to accept

The new policy is expected to come into effect from July 26, 2022 and covers Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and other Meta products

May 26, 2022 / 11:06 PM IST
Source: Reuters

Source: Reuters

Meta announced on May 26 that it will be rewriting and re-designing its privacy policy after four years to make it easier for people to understand and provide more clarity about how they make use of their information, even as it faces regulatory scrutiny across various parts of the world including India.

The new policy is expected to come into effect from July 26, 2022 and covers Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and other Meta products. It will not cover WhatsApp, Workplace, Free Basics, Messenger Kids or the use of Quest devices without a Facebook account, which have their own privacy policies.

The company said it is also updating its terms of service to "better explain what is expected from us and those who use our platforms".

"These expectations include the rights and obligations described in our community standards, for example when we may disable or terminate accounts that violate our Terms or Community Standards or others’ intellectual property rights or other laws," said Michel Protti, Chief Privacy Officer, Product at Meta in a blogpost.

Meta said it will start sending notifications about the firm's updated policy on Facebook, Instagram and Messenger from today. Users in India will however have a choice to accept the updated privacy policy and terms of service or not, without any impact on how they access their products, the company said.

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"For most countries, our Privacy Policy is informational - and so we're sharing a prominent notice to highlight the change to users, but they are not invited to, for example, click to agree to the update to our Privacy Policy. In India, users are given the opportunity to accept the updated Privacy Policy and Terms of Service or not, without any impact on their access to our products," the company said in a statement to Moneycontrol.

Consent flow for Indian users Consent flow for Indian users

Protti said their goal with this update is to be more clear about their data practices including providing additional details and examples throughout the policy about the kinds of information they collect to provide the personalised services such as recommended content and suggested connections on the platform.

Meta will also provide more details about how they share and receive information with third parties as well as how and why people’s information is shared across its products, he said.

"While the text looks different in many places, Meta is not collecting, using or sharing your data in new ways based on this policy update and we still do not sell your information," he added.

New privacy controls

Apart from the redesigned policy, Meta said it will also offer new controls for users to better manage their experience on its products.

New audience controls will make it easier for people to manage who sees their posts on Facebook while an updated ad management control allows them to set preferences across ad topics that reflect the interest-based targeting categories advertisers may use to reach them and the content they might see in an ad.

"Now, when someone selects a default audience, that audience selection will apply to new posts created in Facebook that they share to their timeline unless they select a different audience for a particular post. Previously, your default audience for posts matched whichever audience you chose most recently. So if you had just made a post that was available to the public, your subsequent posts would be as well. This new setting will help make sure you’re sharing with the right people in your community," he said.

Protti also mentioned that they plan to update their privacy policy more frequently in the future "as we continue to learn what areas we can improve".

WhatsApp's privacy policy rollout

In January last year, Meta-owned WhatsApp announced that it had updated its terms of service and privacy policies which would take effect on February 8 and started notifying users regarding the change, stating that users who didn't accept the new terms could expect to have limited functionality over time.

The company however later deferred the deadline to May 15, following a massive backlash from users and also issued a series of clarifications and assurances to users that the policy applies only to business chats and accounts and doesn't affect the privacy of personal messages.

This policy update also resulted in an antitrust probe from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) last year, after the regulator found that the update may have violated provisions of the Competition Act on abuse of dominance.

It also attracted the ire of the Indian government which said the updated policy doesn't conform to India's revised information technology (IT) rules, which led to WhatsApp suing the government in the Delhi High Court in May last year.

In July last year, WhatsApp said it will put the implementation of this policy on hold until the data protection bill comes into effect in the country.
Vikas SN
first published: May 26, 2022 10:56 pm
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