What Facebook's Simpler New Privacy Policy Means For You

Facebook is simplifying its privacy policy in a way that the social network hopes will empower users to take control of their information.

ByAlyssa Newcomb
November 14, 2014, 12:29 PM
PHOTO: A Facebook Inc. logo is displayed for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Ill., Jan. 29, 2013.
A Facebook Inc. logo is displayed for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Ill., Jan. 29, 2013.
Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

— -- Facebook has chopped down its privacy policy and put it into plain English in an effort to empower users to take control of their information.

The previous 9,000 word policy -- written in legalese and longer than the U.S. Constitution, is now less than one-third of the size. Facebook rolled out its revamped policy through a colorful interactive the company hopes users will read.

"Protecting people's information and providing meaningful privacy controls are at the core of everything we do," Erin Egan, Facebook's chief privacy officer, wrote in a blog post.

While the policy may have been updated, it's worth noting that users' Facebook settings won't be changing.

Among the question in the interactive are: What kinds of information do we collect? How is information shared? How can I manage or delete information about me

Here's a look at four highlights:

They Know Where You Are

Advertisements were previously served based on the location listed in a user's profile, however Facebook recently began letting advertisers target users based on their actual location.

While the old policy notes this information can be learned form smartphone GPS, the new policy adds that Bluetooth and WiFi can also give away a user's location.

How Facebook Uses Your Information

Battery and signal strength of your phone may seem like mundane pieces of information to collect, but Facebook said they help ensure their apps are functioning well on user's devices.

"We ask for permission to use your phone’s location to offer optional features like check-ins or adding your location to posts," Egan wrote.

When it comes to sharing with advertisers, Facebook said it helps companies serve "relevant ads without telling them who you are.

Buy Things Button

Don't shop until your drop -- just do it on Facebook. The company is testing a buy button in certain markets that would allow users to make secure transactions without leaving Facebook.

This would, of course, require users to securely share their billing address and credit card number with Facebook.

Privacy Basics Resource

A simple privacy portal helps answer user's questions about what they see, who can see their profile and how people interact with them.

Facebook previously released a privacy check-up tool in September, reminding users of who can see their status updates, apps and profile information.

Facebook will weigh comments and suggestions from users about the policy changes until November 20.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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