BRUSSELS: Facebook has said that it will simplify data control for its more-than-2bn users ahead of the implementation of the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, which will come into force in May.

“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,” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told the company’s Gather conference in Brussels, Reuters reported.

“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,” she added.

GDPR, which is a core focus for marketers worldwide in the first half of this year, will overhaul not only data privacy rules but will also expand the definition of personal data. For companies, it demands that service users be made aware of which data will be collected and how it will be used.

In addition to giving users more control over their date, Sandberg acknowledged that the social network would double the personnel working on safety and security on the platform to 20,000 by the end of the year. This follows warnings from the EU that internet companies – which do not face the same regulations as media companies – must increase their efforts to police the kind of content that appears on their platforms.

In the wake of accusations of fake news appearing on Facebook, the company has faced heat from legislators and media internationally. But the incentives to spread false information are not always political, as Sandberg noted.

“People write these headlines to get clicks to make money,” she observed. “[I]f 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”.

Facebook’s efforts fit into a wider context in which companies will have to build trust ahead of GDPR’s implementation. Late last year, research from the UK suggested that new demands stipulating companies gain explicit and ongoing consent from users would mean problems for brands. Up to 61% of respondents to the survey said they would not want to share data with an organisation even if it benefitted them.

Sourced from Reuters, WARC