Facebook has finally responded to requests to stop tracking users for advertising. But they aren’t going to. Instead, Facebook is going to force all of those who continue to use their social media service to accept being tracked around the internet.
“People can choose to not be on Facebook if they want,” said Facebook Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman. Or, they will be forced to opt into being tracked everywhere they go, and that’s just the way it is. This decision was not made in the interest of the users of Facebook, but explicitly to keep the company’s business model “intact,” reported the Independent.
Some had suggested that the site will have to make major changes once a new European Union privacy law comes into effect. Many parts of those new regulations seem in direct conflict with Facebook’s business, including new rules about what information can be harvested about users. But that’s exactly why Facebook will explicitly demand that you opt into being tracked.
Sherman said that the social network will begin seeking Europeans’ permission this week for a variety of ways Facebook uses their data, but he said that opting out of targeted marketing altogether would not be possible. Therefore, you’ll be tracked if you continue to use Facebook. “Facebook is an advertising-supported service,” Sherman said in a briefing with reporters at Facebook’s headquarters. Facebook users will only be able to limit the kinds of data that advertisers use to target their pitches, he said, but “all ads on Facebook are targeted to some extent, and that’s true for offline advertising, as well.”
Facebook, which is still the world’s largest social media network, will use what are known as “permission screens” to notify and obtain approval. “Permission screens” are simply pages filled with text that require pressing a button to advance. The screens will show up on the Facebook website and smartphone app in Europe this week and globally in the coming months, Sherman said. The screens will not give Facebook users the option to hit “decline.” Instead, they will guide users to either “accept and continue” or “manage data settings,” according to copies the company showed reporters on Tuesday.
Facebook Chief Financial Officer David Wehner warned in February the company could see a drop-off in usage due to the EU law, known as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). But more likely than not, the drop in usage will be due to the privacy concerns many have when using social media.