Facebook to hand privacy controls to users ahead of EU law

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s chief operating officer, addresses the Facebook Gather conference in Brussels, Belgium, January 23, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 23 January 2018
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Facebook to hand privacy controls to users ahead of EU law

BRUSSELS: Facebook will make it easier for its more than 2 billion users to manage their own data in response to a tough new European Union law that comes into force in May, the social network’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg said.
“We’re rolling out a new privacy center globally that will put the core privacy settings for Facebook in one place and make it much easier for people to manage their data,” Sandberg said at a Facebook event in Brussels on Tuesday.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the biggest overhaul of personal data privacy rules since the birth of the Internet and aims to give Europeans more control over their information and how companies use it.
Companies found to be in breach of the law face a maximum penalty of 4 percent of global annual turnover or 20 million euros ($24.50 million), whichever is greater.
“Our apps have long been focused on giving people transparency and control and this gives us a very good foundation to meet all the requirements of the GDPR and to spur us on to continue investing in products and in educational tools to protect privacy,” Sandberg said.
Industries collecting large amount of customer data — from technology companies to insurers and banks — will be affected.
Facebook’s use of customer data and tracking of people’s online activities has already come under investigation from several EU data protection authorities.
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Sandberg said Facebook had not done enough to stop the abuse of its platform and would double the number of people working on safety and security to 20,000 by the end of the year.
The EU has put Internet companies on notice that it will legislate if they do not do a better job self-policing their services for extremist propaganda, hate speech and other abuses.
Facebook — which has been criticized for failing to stop Russian-based operatives using its platform to meddle in the 2016 US presidential elections — is focusing on disrupting the economic incentives to spread fake news, Sandberg said.
Moscow denies any interference in the US election.
“People write these headlines to get clicks to make money,” she said. “So if we can prevent people from being part of our ad networks, prevent people from advertising and take away the financial incentive, that is one of the strongest things we can do against false news, and we are very focused on this.”


Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

Updated 20 October 2018
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Google to charge Android partners up to $40 per device for apps

  • The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers
  • The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size

BRUSSELS/SAN FRANCISCO: Alphabet Inc’s Google will charge hardware firms up to $40 per device to use its apps under a new licensing system to replace one that the European Union this year deemed anti-competitive, a person familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The new fee goes into effect on Oct. 29 for any new smartphone or tablet models launched in the European Economic Area and running Google’s Android operating system, the company announced on Tuesday.
The fee can be as low as $2.50 and rises depending on the country and device size, the person said. It is standard across manufacturers, with the majority likely to pay around $20, the person added.
Companies can offset the charge, which applies to a suite of apps including the Google Play app store, Gmail and Google Maps, by placing Google’s search and Chrome Internet browser in a prominent position. Under that arrangement, Google would give the device maker a portion of ad revenue it generates through search and Chrome.
Tech news outlet the Verge reported the pricing earlier on Friday, citing confidential documents.
The European Commission in July found Google abused its market dominance in mobile software to essentially force Android partners to pre-install search and Chrome on their gadgets. It levied a record $5-billion fine, which Google has appealed, and threatened additional penalties unless the company ended its illegal practices.
The new system should give Google’s rivals such as Microsoft Corp. more room to partner with hardware makers to become the default apps for search and browsing, analysts said.
Qwant, a small French search company that has been critical of Google, said in a statement on Friday that it was “satisfied that the European Commission’s action pushed Google to finally give manufacturers the possibility to offer such choices to consumers.”