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Changes to Facebook’s Terms of Service Exclude Billions from New EU Privacy Laws


Facebook have had a lot of negative press in recent times, largely due to the uproar surrounding the Cambridge Analytica Scandal which even progressed so far as to force Mark Zuckerberg himself to appear before the federal court. Well, cue another wave as Facebook recently announced changes to their terms of service which make them look more than a little shady in light of recent revelations.

Reuters report that as of next month, Facebook are amending their polices so as to remove the platform’s estimated 1.5 billion registered users outside of the EU, US, and Canada from the protection offered by European privacy laws. As it stands these countries, which include parts of Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America, are governed by terms of service agreed with the company’s international headquarters in Ireland. However with the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into effect from May 25th, Facebook seem intent on ensuring this is no longer the case by that time. These users will instead be governed by Facebook Inc. in the US, which is subject to softer privacy laws.

The motive is likely financial given that the new terms set out by the GDPR allow for fines of up to 4% of annual global revenue for companies in breach of the new regulations. After all, Facebook were only ever based in Ireland for financial gain in the first place, as they were able to take advantage of the country’s low corporate tax rates. Facebook themselves however insist that the change is being made in response to the privacy notices required by the EU, “because EU law requires specific language”.

Facebook have also hinted that they would apply the same privacy protections to users worldwide regardless of their location; however the change in policy would mean they are under no obligation to do so and while some may call me cynical, I would expect them to opt for profit over privacy.

Stephen Deadman, Deputy Chief Global Privacy Officer at Facebook, attempted to allay these fears when commenting on the policy change:

“The GDPR and EU consumer law set out specific rules for terms and data policies which we have incorporated for EU users. We have been clear that we are offering everyone who uses Facebook the same privacy protections, controls and settings, no matter where they live,” said Deadman.



Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. Currently working as Editor of Social Songbird, he hopes to one day drop that 'aspiring' prefix. Follow him @Songbird_Sam

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Changes to Facebook’s Terms of Service Exclude Billions from New EU Privacy Laws Reviewed by Sam Bonson on Thursday, April 19, 2018 Rating: 5
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