Facebook is no stranger to receiving harsh criticism from European lawmakers and policy advocates. In general, European countries have stronger laws in place to protect their citizens’ data and privacy. So it was no surprise this week when the social media giant received another stinging rebuke from the European Union, which threatened Facebook with fines if it didn’t change its “misleading” terms of service.
Facebook and other major tech companies were recently asked by the EU to provide users with information about how their data was used, and also to clearly identify sponsored content. However, in the platform’s terms of service, Facebook says that user data is merely used to improve their experience on the site, and not for commercial purposes. Of course, this isn’t entirely true. And that’s why an EU official went public this week with such strong words for the company.
“We want Facebook to be absolutely clear to its users about how the service operates and makes money,” EU commissioner Vera Jourova said at a press conference. “Facebook has almost 380M users in Europe and I expect Facebook to take more responsibility for them.”
“I expect also Facebook to be honest with those that go and try to understand all the consequences of using their services,” she continued. “I will not hide that I am becoming rather impatient because we have been in dialogue with Facebook almost two years… I want to see the results.”
Politicians in the U.S. are beginning to apply this same kind of pressure to Facebook to clean up its act, but not with the same level of intensity. Here’s hoping this tough talk does its jobs and actually leads to stronger protections for European Facebook users.