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Meta says it won’t collect user data ‘in new ways’


Mark Zuckerberg’s company Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has rewritten its Terms of Service and, as a result, has also updated Meta’s Privacy Policy. Now the company proudly says that it won’t collect user data “in new ways” – but what’s that supposed to mean?

Meta has published an article detailing why its Terms of Service and Privacy Policy have been rewritten. According to the company, it’s now easier for users to “understand and reflect” on products and services offered by Meta. And indeed, Meta’s Privacy Center now has a more user-friendly interface.

But then the article tries to reassure users that, despite the latest changes, Meta won’t collect personal data “in new ways.” Was this supposed to mean a good thing? Should users be relieved?

Well, Meta is still Facebook and we shouldn’t expect too much from this company when it comes to privacy. The Verge compared the old policy with the new one and indeed the company’s argument that they won’t collect data in new ways is true. However, this doesn’t change the fact that they will continue with many other bad practices in this regard.

As explained by John Davisson of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, “Facebook already funnels user data at industrial scale into a vast targeted advertising ecosystem.” For Davisson, it’s “unrealistic” to believe that Facebook users will read dozens of pages about how the company is handling their data, but of course Meta will try to make it seem like the company is now more concerned about privacy.

In other words, nothing has changed, which is not good since we’re talking about Facebook.

Facebook’s privacy controversies

Facebook from Meta.

Facebook’s business is heavily based on selling user data for advertising. When Apple announced App Tracking Transparency to force apps to ask for users’ permission in order to track them, Facebook unsurprisingly spoke out against Apple.

Earlier this year, an internal document from the Facebook Ad team revealed that even the company’s engineers have no idea how to manage user data in a way to truly protect it. Facebook employees have even called the platform’s database “open borders.”

The company recently discontinued some location-based features of Facebook, including “Nearby Friends” and “Location History” – which both collected the user’s location in the background. But of course, Facebook’s app continues to collect location data “for other experiences.”

More about Facebook

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