Facebook (which we now all know as Meta) doesn’t always have the best ideas. It’s misused large quantities of user information. It’s enabled all sorts of negative behaviour… pretty much around the world. And it frequently makes tone-deaf decisions. This, happily, isn’t one of them.
The social media giant has announced something it calls its Privacy Center. Currently limited to a set number of American desktop users, it’s a one-stop shop for understanding how the company uses personal data. It makes a nice change.
That’s not very Meta
At its heart, the Privacy Center is an educational tool. Meta hopes to provide its users with details on five specific subjects. Those would be Security, Sharing, Collection (as in data collection), Use, and Ads. These sections are presented as modules, so there’s an element of studying involved. It’s a little like homework, as others have pointed out. But it’s still an extremely good idea.
The major issue Meta and companies like it face is that users aren’t aware of their data in relation to themselves. Facebook’s new platform will let users “…learn about our approach to privacy, read up on our Data Policy and learn how to use the many privacy and security controls that we offer.” Which might have some sort of effect on how users see their own data management and privacy.
Or it would, if the fact that it’s an effort didn’t completely negate the usefulness of Meta’s new Privacy Center. Nobody reads the terms and conditions, and very few will take the trouble to educate themselves as to what Facebook collects and how to manage it. Which is a pity. This is a step in the right direction for the social network.
When it rolls out to the rest of the world — and it will — it’ll be easy enough to access. On Facebook, desktop users can head to Settings, and then Privacy to find it. We’ll have info on mobile methods once those become available.