Facebook to give privacy controls to users ahead of European law

Facebook will unveil new tools to make it easier for users to make choices about their privacy in response to new European privacy laws, according to the company’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg.

“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.

Reuters reports that she said the creation of a “privacy center” was prompted by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU regulation that seeks to give Europeans more control over their information and how companies use it.

“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.


Companies found to be in breach of privacy law face a maximum penalty of 4 percent of global annual turnover or €20m (£17.77m), whichever is greater. In Facebook’s case, based on a total revenue of $27.6 billion in 2016, the maximum possible fine would be $1.1 billion.

Sandberg also said that Facebook would work hard to end the abuse of its platform by those seeking to hurt the democratic process around the world, and tackle the problem of fake news. She reiterated the company’s promise to double the number of people working on safety and security to 20,000 by the end of the year.

“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,” she said, reports Reuters.

On Monday, the tech firm published several blog posts admitting that it had not moved fast enough to recognize the damage it was inflicting on democracies around the world. 

“I wish I could guarantee that the positives [of social media] are destined to outweigh the negatives, but I can’t,” said Facebook product manager Samidh Chakrabarti in a post.


Christopher Carbone is a reporter for FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @christocarbone.