As more and more economic and social activities take place online, the importance of data privacy and protection is coming to the fore even as more users voice concerns over security of their private information.
This points to why Meta launched a prototype Privacy Centre on January 7, 2022 in a bid to enhance user awareness and transparency surrounding privacy practices and controls of the company and its subsidiaries.
The model Privacy Centre is currently limited to Facebook desktop users in the USA, however, Meta intends to expand access to the service over the next few months by integrating the Privacy Centre into its other applications as well as expand the scope of the programme to accommodate more Meta application users.
The last 5 years through the privacy lens have been characterised by a universal increase in the regulation and enforcement of data protection laws. An increasingly global appetite for privacy, amplified by the increased recognition of the value of personal data by the average social media user, has compelled social media platforms to critically evaluate and revise their organisational approach to privacy.
Meta’s Privacy Centre demonstrates a clear shift in the organisational mindset of the company, constituting a novel and revolutionary shift in how large social media platforms manage and utilise their users’ data.
Put simply, Meta is attempting to place more control of data back into their users’ hands. As such, the Privacy Center has been developed to serve as a hub for Meta’s existing and newly developed privacy and security controls.
The current prototype of Privacy Center has five modules, each containing guides and controls related to the following common privacy topics:
- Security: Users are provided with the option of using new account security solutions such as two-factor-authentication or learn more about how Meta fights data scraping.
- Sharing: A comprehensive guide for users with questions about who can see what a user posts, or how users can clean up old posts on their profile using tools like Manage Activity.
- Collection: Learn about the different types of data that Meta collects, and how users can view that data through tools like Access Your Information.
- Use: Users are provided with information concerning how and why Meta uses their data, and explore the controls Meta offers to manage how user information is used.
- Advertisements: The module provides insights into how user information is used to determine the ads users interact with, and how users can make use of ad controls like Ad Preferences.
As Meta transitions its primary business model into an interactive 3D virtual environment, i.e the Metaverse, the company must remain cognizant of the additional data points that will be collected and processed to improve user experiences in the virtual reality.
Regulators and privacy activists alike will keenly monitor the latest adaptation of the internet and the future of social media for privacy infringements. However, Meta’s prototype Privacy Centre has the potential to divert regulatory scrutiny away from the company and its various subsidiaries.