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Facebook vows to abide by new European data privacy laws

Sheetal Sukhija - Thursday 19th April, 2018

CALIFORNIA, U.S. - As the Cambridge Analytica scandal widens, so does the scrutiny of Facebook’s data privacy laws. 

In a bid to calm lawmakers in Europe, now the global social media giant, Facebook, has agreed to comply with strict new European data privacy laws that are set to come into force in May.

The company said in a statement on Wednesday that while it will also continue to serve targeted ads based on user data, the new law will extend privacy protections to all users, even those who live outside the EU.

In a blog post, Facebook said that it will first roll out changes within Europe, and will later extend the same protections to all of its other users around the world.

The company’s move to tighten privacy comes a month after revelations about the company's activities in years past were made, revealing that its activities have enabled the misuse of personal user data by third parties. 

Due to the questions raised, Facebook has updated its data policy and the company’s co-founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who recently testified before the U.S. Congress, also had to issue an apology.

Zuckerberg admitted the company's past failures.

Meanwhile, the new European law, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is already sparking one of the biggest upheavals in online privacy since in the history of the internet.

The law comes into force on May 25 and will compel companies operating online in Europe to overhaul the way they treat people's personal data. 

Further, authorities have clarified that those that do not comply with the law face huge fines.

Facebook said in a blog post on Wednesday, "As soon as GDPR was finalized, we realized it was an opportunity to invest even more heavily in privacy. We've also sought input from people outside Facebook with different perspectives on privacy, including people who use our services, regulators and government officials, privacy experts, and designers."

According to the company, starting this week, Facebook users in Europe will start to see a pop-up asking them to make choices about their privacy and how the platform handles their data. 

The same options will subsequently be presented to Facebook users globally.

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