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European Commission takes Facebook and Twitter to task over misleading T & C’s

Friday, 21 September, 2018 - 15:19

At a press conference on Thursday in Brussels, EU Consumer Commissioner Vera Jourova accused Facebook and Twitter of taking too much time to comply with the demands of the European Commission that both platforms change their terms and conditions to make them clearer for European consumers.

In a statement the European Commission said that Facebook’s progress towards implementing the changes had been “very limited”, even though the company changed its terms of use in May, as part of the General Data Protection Regulation brought in by the Commission.

These new conditions “contain a misleading presentation of the main features of Facebook services,” said the Commission. In particular, Facebook is now telling consumers that their data and content are only used to improve their overall “experience” and does not mention that the company is using this data for commercial purposes.”

The warning shot from Brussels comes several months after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the British was company accused of having collected and exploited the personal data of millions of users for political purposes without their consent. This scandal “reminded us that few people are clear how Facebook uses the personal data of its users,” said Ms. Jourova, at the press conference.

She said she expects to receive a draft amendment to Facebook’s terms of use by mid-October so that they can be enforced in December.

The Commissioner said that Facebook and Twitter risked sanctions if they did not change their terms of use by the end of the year. “Although Facebook has assured me that it will finally adjust any remaining deceptive service conditions by December, this has been going on for far too long. (…) If the changes are not fully implemented by the end of the year, I will urge the consumer protection authorities to act quickly and punish the company, she said. “If we do not see improvement, the sanctions will come. It’s very clear. We can not negotiate forever, we need to see the results. ”

In response, Facebook argued that it had already made a number of changes and would continue to cooperate with the authorities. “Our conditions are much clearer about what is allowed and what is not allowed on Facebook and about the options that users have. We will continue our close collaboration in order to answer any other concern and to make the necessary updates.”


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