Expertopinion needed: the new Facebook terms & conditions

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Since the 31st January of this year new terms of use and a new data protection policy is applicable for Facebook. What’s important for users?

Everyone accessing Facebook after 31st January automatically agreed to the new principles. Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to object to it but you definetly should face up the individual things you agreed to. Facebook promised more transparency, when talking about the use of the own data. This really sounds good, but you should digest these promises carefully. Read the document properly. In the future your user data are filtered even more detailed and they are used for Facebook and promotion purposes.

What exactly did Facebook change?

Data protection:

More transparency of data protection: Facebook wants to simplify the control of contents for users. Interactive instructions enable to monitor analyses of visited sites and Apps.

Bernd’s conclusion:

Check the changes properly. Consider that ne functions are pre-set by Facebook. If you don’t want to agree, you in general have to switch them off. Therefore you have to change the settings. Either in the ads-settings directly ( ) or in the privacy settings ( ). You just set all the ads settings to “no-one”, so that no third party profits from your facebook activities. You can also check inside the privacy settings who is allowed to see the content of the timeline, who can contact you or even find you on Facebook. Here I recommend to choose “no-one” or “friends”. With customised settings you can also generate exceptions. However, you can be quite certain that the company will evaluate your data anyway.

Location data:

Everyone who shares the location, receives direct information about places close by. Even activities from friends who shared their location will be transfered to the user. Means it’s possible to observe the movements of other users relatively on time.

Bernd’s conclusion:

With the extension of this function Facebook can now link location data with advertisements. If you don’t want to see any ads or you don’t want others to observe the own movements, you should switch off the GPS-function of your smartphone.


Facebook wants advertisement to be more individual. Currently ads-content is generated by users’ likes. In the future they want to include visited websites and Apps in the advertising analysis. But not only this: you can rate if you like an advertisement and why. This allows Facebook to generate target groups and should ensure that you only see ads related to your needs.

Bernd’s conclusion:

Hence the social network is capable of observing the majority of your online activities. Even, if you just research something, the risk is high that you’ll be overspammed with ads content.


Even a network like Facebook depends on customers’ loyalty and needs to create new attraction. Therefore the company will launch a click-and-buy function for their users. This function is already established on a few video platforms and is primarily for buying accessed contents directly via Facebook.

Bernd’s conclusion:

Facebook’s big win with this is not the happiness of their users, instead it’s even more user data: like buying behaviour, the willingness of spending money and which payment data belongs to the user. These improvements are really critical from the point of view of data protection, because it develops a completely autarkic user profile. No one knows what’s happening with this data and to whom they are passed on (sold).

The User: a powerless puppet

With the changes of their policies Facebook demonstrates once again it’s power within the user-community. It’s not even close to democratics, the user does not even have a chance to object. Everyone who logged in after the 31st January 2015 automatically agreed. There are more and more voices shouting out loud that the corporation is violating European data protection law. Since the European headquarter is in Ireland and there are lower data protection standards applicable. These are only valid if the respective data is processed there. Exactly this is currently examined by the European courts. Because: According to German law the internet tycoon would only be allowed to process the personal data if the user explicitely agreed to it. This possibility of adhesion is not available. Also original settings should be checked over and over again. It’s not impossible that Facebook doesn’t change them to their needs. Privacy settings are often pre-set, so that search engines have the possibilities to find the data or that single user actions can be filtered for advertising purposes. The platform earns money with advertisements. The more the advertisement is customised to the individual user the higher the possibility that the user clicks on it. Who could previously decide by himrself what’s being published or shared is now observed by Facebook at every turn. Where is the privacy? Regulating the data transfer is highly limited. Via platforms like AboutAds or Your Online Choices the objection cookie can be set but if the data is really not used by Facebook is remains unclear. Anybody who is not satisfied with this control only has the option to log out of the network and to delete the own account. Because otherwise you can not get around the rules.

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