Enforcing Our Policies and Protecting People’s Data

By Justin Osofsky, VP Global Operations

We’ve seen allegations that we don’t care how people’s data is used. While it’s fair to criticize how we enforced our developer policies more than five years ago, it’s untrue to suggest we didn’t or don’t care about privacy. The facts tell a different story.

We’ve listened to feedback from people who use Facebook, experts in privacy and security, and regulators on how we can do better. We’ve devoted hundreds of people and new technology to enforce our policies better and kick bad actors off our platform. To name just a few examples:

First, it’s always been against our policy for a developer to collect data it doesn’t need to operate its app. But in the past five years we’ve significantly improved our ability to detect and prevent these violations. All apps requesting detailed user information go through our App Review process where developers must explain how they are going to use what they collect – before they’re allowed to even ask for it.

Second, when developers are permitted to use our platform, we give people the tools to control their experience. Before you decide to use an app, you can review the permissions the developer is requesting and choose which information to share. You can manage or revoke those permissions at any time. We introduced this more than three years ago.

Third, we enforce our policies by banning developers from our platform, pursuing litigation to ensure any improperly collected data is deleted, and working with developers who want to make sure their apps follow the rules.

We’re not stopping here. Our privacy program, created in 2012, includes hundreds of people from a variety of teams across the company. This group works with product managers and engineers to protect people’s data, to give people information about how our features work, and to provide people control over how their data is used. This program is audited as part of a 20-year agreement we have with the US Federal Trade Commission. We’re held accountable for what we say and what we do.

Our approach reflects the laws and regulations we have to follow – both in the US and around the world – but it also reflects something more fundamental. Facebook may be successful today, but our future isn’t guaranteed without the trust of the people who choose to come here every day. It’s why we promote a culture inside Facebook that questions decisions and that is relentless in finding ways to improve. We’ll continue listening to feedback and finding ways we can do better.

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