Facebook Privacy Changes What They Mean To You (Must Read)


Recently Facebook users have received an email signed by Erin Egan, Chief Privacy Officer at Facebook. Wondering if it’s legitimate? Wonder what it means to you? Wonder how to best control your information and how it is shared? Read on we have all of the information for you. Please make sure to read the FULL POST carefully, to make sure that you are aware of all of your options. Please do share the post with your friends if you find it helpful.

What do the privacy changes mean? Well actually not a whole lot new. Facebook has long used profile pictures and names in conjunction with sponsored stories or Facebook ads. These changes actually are part of a response to a settlement to a class action lawsuit regarding user privacy. You can read more about that from Reuters here. 

The email refers to Facebook’s Site Governance page. There you can read about proposed updates and leave your feedback on them. You can also review a section by section summary of updates. (click the gold text for links) The most important information comes within the section by section summary. 

About Advertisements and Other Commercial Content Served or Enhanced by Facebook. As part of a legal settlement, we agreed to further explain how we may use your name, profile picture, content and information in connection with ads or commercial content. We included an example of how these ads work and explained that when you limit your audience, we’ll respect that choice. We also added a provision stating that minor users must represent that a parent or guardian has consented to this section of our terms, on their behalf.

The read highlighted language on limiting your audience means that they will respect your privacy settings and only share information about you with people whom you allow to see that information via your personal privacy settings. As such it is very important to review your privacy settings for your Facebook account and make sure they are exactly as you want them.

To Review your privacy settings on Facebook click on the little gear at the upper right of your home page near your name and click on “Privacy ”


Then look to the left of your page. The two you should review often are privacy and ads.


Looking at the “Privacy” section allows you to review several things. First who can see your posts (This setting can  be adjusted from the drop down menu any time you post a status for more on that click here.)

who can see your posts

If you have had your posts set to public or friends of friends and no longer wish for that to be the case, you can make that change retroactive as well via the “Limit the audience for past posts” setting


This setting is very important, because anyone your privacy settings allow to see your content will also be able to see ads or sponsored stories that involve you. If your settings are public, your likes will be public and anyone will be able to see content that you have liked a page or shared it, if the page owner opts to make that a sponsored story. If your settings are friends, only your friends can see what you like.  To learn more about Sponsored Stories, click here. To learn more about ads on Facebook and how they determine what to show you, click here.

In addition to the above, which are relevant to the changes, there are several other useful things to check in Privacy Settings to make sure yours are as you wish them to be – that includes:

Contact accessibility such as


Who can send you friend requests


Filtering of messages to your inbox


Who can look you up with your phone number or email address


And whether or not the public information on your profile will appear in search engines such as Google.


Note the privacy setting choices above are the author’s. It is up to each individual to choose what is best for them. These are best for me and simply an example.

The other important thing to review within your settings is Ads. Once again this can be found on the left side of the settings page.


There are two sections to review with in the ads section.


The first is usage of your profile picture and name in ads served by 3rd parties other than Facebook, should Facebook decide to allow this in the future. You can choose whether your friends could see these or no one.


The Second is for Facebook ads (note that there is no setting or way to opt out of Sponsored Stories, you can only control the audience of who sees your content)


Again here, I have chosen to minimize the usage of my name and picture where possible – each person must make their own choice. My choice is based on the fact that they still use us for Sponsored Stories and other content that’s actually based on my actions. I don’t care to see my liking of a page tied to something completely different to influence my friends. Your choices are up to you.

If you did not receive the email from Facebook and would like to know what information it contained,you can find it quoted in full below. It should have gone to the default email address for each Facebook user.

“Hi Heather,

We're writing to let you know that we are proposing updates to our Data Use Policy and our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. These two documents tell you about how we collect and use data, and the rules that apply when you choose to use Facebook. Our goal with these updates is to make our practices more clear.

We update these documents from time to time to make sure we keep you posted about the latest things you can do with Facebook. This email describes the key changes we've proposed and directs you to places where you can learn more.

What's being updated and why?
Both documents have new language to help you better understand:
How advertising works on Facebook
What to expect when it comes to using your name, profile picture, content and personal info with ads or commercial content
How to control or remove apps you've used
What data you're sharing with mobile devices
Like always, we won't share the private information that you put on Facebook with advertisers without your permission.

What should you do and when will the updates happen?
You can review all the updates on our Site Governance page's Documents tab and over the next seven days leave comments on that page to give us feedback. Please take some time to read through everything and let us know what you think. If your comments lead to more updates, we'll post those on the Site Governance page, too.

To stay up to date on similar topics, please like our Site Governance and Privacy pages. And, if you want to learn more about how we show you interesting, relevant ads, or how cookies and similar technologies help us do so, please visit our Ads and Cookies pages. We hope you find these resources helpful.
Best regards,

Erin Egan
Chief Privacy Officer

To read an additional article on this topic from Tech Crunch, click here.

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