With the new EU privacy laws, the General Data Protect Regulation (GDPR), due to come in to effect on 25th May this year, Facebook is rolling out new tools.
In a recent event in Brussels, the company’s COO, Sheryl Sandberg, also confirmed they would be adding 10,000 more safety and security personnel, effectively doubling those already employed in this area, to tackle fake news and end abuse.
Sandberg said, “We’re rolling out a new privacy centre globally that will put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for people to manage their data,”
She went on to say that the creation of a “privacy centre” was prompted by the requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU regulation that seeks to give Europeans more control over their information and how companies use it.
“Our apps have long been focused on giving people 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,”
There is a major incentive for Companies to comply to the new regulation. If found to be in breach of GDPR, big companies face a maximum penalty of 4% of global annual turnover or €20m (£17.77m), whichever is greater. In Facebook’s case, based on a total revenue of $27.6bn in 2016, the maximum possible fine would be $1.1bn.
Sandberg also said that Facebook would work hard to end the abuse of its platform by those seeking to hurt the democratic process around the world, and tackle the problem of fake news.
“If we can prevent people from being part of our ad networks, prevent people from advertising and take away the financial incentive, that is one of the strongest things we can do against false news, and we are very focused on this.”
In recent Facebook blogposts, they accepted that it had been too slow to recognise the damage it was inflicting on democracies around the world. “I wish I could guarantee that the positives [of social media] are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can’t,” said Facebook product manager Samidh Chakrabarti.
Facebook have not issued any specific details about the new tools it intends to roll out nor when users can expect to benefit from the new controls.