GLOBAL: With new European data protection regulation coming into force in May, internet giants will be forced to adapt. Facebook has revealed its principles to ensure user privacy alongside an educational campaign to help users understand their rights.

In a post, the company published guidelines, governing principles for its handling of user data, to coincide with Data Privacy Day, which took place on Sunday (28th Jan) commemorating the first legally binding international treaty on data privacy, signed in 1981.

The campaign will introduce videos into users’ news feeds. Erin Egan, the social network’s Chief Privacy Officer wrote that the videos would inform users on “how to control what information Facebook uses to show you ads, how to review and delete old posts, and even what it means to delete your account.”

In addition to the education campaign, the company said it will launch a ‘Privacy Centre’ in a number of months. It is intended to bring together users’ privacy settings into one easily found place.

Among the company’s principles, one of the core tenets of GDPR features as a guiding principle: that of privacy by design. “We design privacy into Facebook products with guidance from experts in areas like data protection and privacy law, security, interface design, engineering, product management, and public policy”, Egan wrote.

In addition, data ownership is made clearer. “[Y]ou decide what you share and who you share it with on Facebook, and you can change your mind. That’s why we give you tools for deleting anything you’ve posted.”

According to Facebook policy manager Emily Sharpe, speaking to Fast Company, none of these principles is particularly new – in fact, most are “really longstanding principles that have informed our products and privacy practices, [and] we’ve abided by them for a long time.”

The publication follows a speech given by COO Sheryl Sandberg last week in which the company announced the extension of GDPR data protection and ownership rights to all 2 billion of its users worldwide.

The General Data Protection Regulation has made headlines often because of the heavy fines that non-compliance can carry. Often such threats have been regarded as toothless. But a new report from the Direct Marketing Commission, has found that in 2016, the number of fines given for breaking data protection laws had doubled from 2015.

Though the level of complaints remains low, the report found that the majority (69%) related to data, privacy, and quality. Despite the low volume of complaints, “the challenges with data and consents across lengthy value chains are a cause for concern”, noted George Kidd, Chief Commissioner of the DM Commission.

Sourced from Facebook, Fast Company, WARC, DM Commission; additional content by WARC staff