Facebook to launch privacy center ahead of EU regulations


SAN FRANCISCO — Facebook says it will launch a new privacy center to help people understand what it does with their data as the giant social network prepares for sweeping new data protection rules in Europe designed to rein in the growing power of major U.S. technology companies.

All privacy settings will be in one place, said Facebook, which also published a set of privacy “principles.”

Facebook is bracing for new regulations designed to help the 500 million consumers in Europe take back some control over how online businesses use their personal information.

But Facebook won’t be giving its more than 2 billion users any additional say over what it does with the mountains of personal information Facebook collects to target advertising.

Instead Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said last week in a speech in Brussels that the new privacy center would “put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place, and make it much easier for people to manage their data.”

According to Sandberg, the changes give Facebook “a very good foundation to meet all the requirements” of the 28-member bloc’s new data rules called the General Data Protection Regulation or GDPR, which apply to any company that keeps data on EU citizens. The GDPR restricts what kind of data companies can use and store and what they can do with the data.

Facebook, like other major U.S. tech companies, has deployed dozens of people and spent millions of dollars to figure out how to comply with the new rules. In recent months, the company has held what it calls “design jams” where staffers brainstorm ways people can get a clearer picture of what’s happening to their data.

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