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Facebook Changes Privacy Settings For British Users

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

Facebook has unveiled an updated privacy policy for British users that is going to have a significant impact on their privacy. The new privacy policy was announced few months back and was supposed to come into effect from 1st January’ 2015 but its implementation was delayed after Facebook received complaints from a section of its users. The updated policy would allow Facebook to share a lot more of your personal data with third parties (including advertisers) and what’s worse, you won’t be able to totally opt out of such data sharing.

As per the new policy, every time you log into the social networking site, Facebook will not only track what you do on its own site but also keep a record of other sites that you visit through your browser. Not only that, if you log into Facebook from your mobile device, the site will also keep track of other mobile apps that you use. These measures would allow the social giant to serve much better targeted advertisements to its users. As you might be aware, Facebook shows ads in the news feed and sidebar so don’t be surprised if you start seeing ads related to the sites or apps that you use from now on.

Additionally, if you share your location with Facebook then the site would henceforth use that information to show location based targeted ads to you (for example, hotels and bars in the area). There are several ways to share location with Facebook including but not limited to mentioning your current city in your posts, sharing photos that contain location information as well as through apps that rely on location data to function correctly. As you can guess, every time you share your current location, you are giving an opportunity to Facebook to serve advertisements to you.

The unveiling of Facebook’s new privacy settings is certainly not a good news for the British users who treasure their privacy. What’s shocking is that the social networking site doesn’t give you an opportunity to read and accept the new terms or a way to opt out of the new rules. As soon as you log into the site, Facebook would consider that you have accepted the terms of the new policy.

While there is no way to opt out of the new privacy settings, you can certainly tweak certain settings to preserve your privacy. The first thing you can do is opt out of targeted ad tracking but you need to keep in mind that it is upto the advertiser to honor your request. Next, if you don’t like a particular ad, you can block the advertiser and report the ad through the “Ad Preferences” tool. You can also install a plugin like Adblock Plus on your browser to opt out of most forms of advertising. However, the only foolproof way to opt out of Facebook’s new privacy rules is to delete your account or not log into the site at all!

In addition to taking the above steps, you should also make it a point to log out of Facebook and clear your cache and cookies whenever you are not planning to use the site for few hours. This will ensure that Facebook doesn’t get a chance to track your browsing or mobile activities. I always log out of Facebook whenever I am done using it (especially when I am using it on my mobile) and there is no reason why you must not do the same.

April 29, 2015

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