Facebook’s Privacy Notice is a Joke – Don’t Fall for it!

Facebook's Privacy Notice is a Joke - Don't Fall for it!

So you’ve just read Facebook’s privacy notice and you’re feeling much more comfortable with the amount of information the social network has on you. You think that because you agreed to those terms, all your information is safe, right?

Wrong! The Facebook privacy notice is essentially legal mumbo-jumbo that means nothing, and it serves only to make users feel like they have some sort of control over their information. It doesn’t mean squatting in real life, so don’t let Facebook trick you into thinking otherwise!

Why does this notice gets ignored?

You’re reading this, so I have to assume you have some familiarity with Facebook’s privacy notice. And if you do, chances are you’ve had your curiosity piqued by this seemingly innocuous little line:

You must use the privacy settings we provide to control who can see certain parts of your profile. Surely that couldn’t be, right? What are they trying to pull here?

How you’re worse off with this legal notice

Of course, none of this legal jumble helps you in the event of an issue like when Facebook purposefully removed videos off their site with members’ permission and then reinstated them without permission.

One real-life example had been users uploading their music to the platform and generating income from that. When they later removed that permission, those musicians lost both their music and income with no recourse. And what will happen if you forget to deselect someone?

After a person dies, all of the content they shared on Facebook, whether they had been your friend or not, will be made public. (New York Times)

What can we take away from all this? A privacy notice doesn’t protect us.

How to create an effective privacy policy

By now, many of us have seen the newest Facebook privacy notice on our timelines. You know the one I’m talking about: that uber-long update that tells you how they use the information and protect your personal information.

Really? Who are they kidding? The truth is that this privacy update is all hogwash; there are way too many loopholes to count and no accountability. Take, for example, these five takeaways.

What makes a good social media privacy policy?

One of the best things you can do to protect your personal information is to limit what you put online. Try to remove yourself from any online communities, and refrain from posting any personal information. If you need to post anything sensitive online,

be sure that your social media privacy policy specifically states why you’re sharing this sensitive data with the world, who can see this sensitive data, and why that makes sense.

This policy should be written in plain English so that users don’t have to search through legalese before understanding their rights. Your social media privacy policy should also contain no contradictions within its text or among policies posted on different pages of your site or platform.

The importance of doing your homework

Every day, I see Facebook users post the same (completely pointless) privacy notice as if they were doing something of substance. It goes like this: IF YOU ARE ON MY FACEBOOK PAGE IT IS BECAUSE I WANTED YOU TO BE THERE SO PLEASE DON’T READ INTO WHAT YOU SEE.

The message seems to be, I’m a good person because I don’t want you to read my messages and the information that I share on my page. If you take what you read here seriously, then you’re not understanding the spirit of my words.

So stop posting this garbage on your timeline.

The 4 most important things in any privacy policy

  1. Make sure to put your privacy policy link on the home page of your website, not just in the footer of every page. If people don’t know that you have a privacy policy, then they won’t be able to read it.
  2. In your privacy policy, state how often you update your information and what information you do or don’t store on your computer.
  3. In detail, describe how you keep customers’ data safe online and offline when they enter it on your site or offline in person (i.e., pencil-and-paper forms). You’ll need to state how you store that data and what security measures are in place (such as firewall protection).

10 Ways to Create an Effective Online Privacy Policy

An online privacy policy doesn’t have to be long, complex, or stuffed with legal jargon. Here are 10 ways to create an effective online privacy policy:

#1: Make your internet site name accurate and concise.

#2: Allow your visitors to opt-in or opt-out of email subscriptions without ever making them type anything into the form itself.

#3: Do not sell, give away, barter, or share information gathered by any means on your website (without first asking permission).

#4: Include Terms of Service and Conditions as well as disclaimers to clarify what you can and cannot do with the information given to you.

#5: Be open about how you gather and use data on your site.

#6: Include contact information, including name, email address, and phone number.

#7: Describe your firm’s commitment to protecting customers’ privacy.

#8: Discuss website security precautions and how information given to you will be secured from hackers or other people trying to access it unlawfully.

#9: Make sure your online privacy policy has been updated recently, indicating that you are serious about your commitment to having and abiding by one.

#10: Make sure you have someone reviewing your online privacy policy from time to time. This will allow you to keep up with any changes in law and technology that may affect what you do on your website. It may also let you know if some of your policies are ineffective, unnecessary, or too confusing.

Most importantly, always remember that an effective online privacy policy does not have to be boring. It should interest potential customers enough to make them want to know more about who you are and what kind of service they can expect from your firm.

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