Facebook told to clarify privacy policy for international users

The data commissioner in Ireland has told Facebook to make its privacy policy easier to understand. It also told the world’s largest social network to make the policy easier to understand. The suggestions are significant given that Facebook’s international headquarters are in Ireland.

Following a three-month commercial audit, the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) said Facebook should work towards “simpler explanations of its privacy policies (and) … easier accessibility and prominence of these policies.”

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The commissioner also called on the social network to provide “an enhanced ability for users to make their own informed choices based on the available information.”

The DPC conducted the enquiry, aimed at determining whether Facebook complied with Irish and by extension European Union law, because Facebook Ireland is the entity with which non-US and non-Canadian users have a contract, the DPC said.

The findings follow a long campaign by Austrian student and others involved in a movement which came to be known as “Europe vs Facebook”, as well as the Norwegian Consumer Council and other individuals.

Facebook did not contest the ruling, stating that the DPC had “highlighted several opportunities to strengthen our existing practices”.

“Facebook has committed to either implement, or to consider, other ‘best practice’ improvements recommended by the DPC, even in situations where our practices already comply with legal requirements.”

This is not the first time the social network has faced scrutiny for its privacy policies.

The social networking giant recently agreed to 20 years of independent audits from the US Federal Trade Commission following an investigation into its privacy policies

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