Preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation

Facebook is one of many organisations preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation, a new law coming into effect in the EU in May 2018.

Next week we will roll out a limited test of some of the additional choices we’ll ask people to make as part of GDPR.

That means that some people will see information on Facebook about improved privacy controls, new features and more details on how our services work. While everyone on Facebook in the EU will eventually hear from us about this, we’re starting by asking only a small percentage of people so that we can be sure everything is working properly.

First, the changes we’re testing will let people choose whether to enable facial recognition, which has previously been unavailable in the EU.

Using face recognition is entirely optional – you can choose to leave it off, or switch it on at any time.
If you choose to opt in then you will have access to the following features:

  • We’ll let you know when someone else uploads a photo of you as their profile picture. We’re doing this to prevent people from impersonating others on Facebook.
  • You’ll hear from us if you’re in a photo and are part of the audience, even if you haven’t been tagged. You can choose whether to tag yourself, leave yourself untagged, or reach out to the person who posted the photo if you have concerns about it.
  • Finally, we’ll make it easier for people with visual impairments to get more out of Facebook. Two years ago, we launched an automatic alt-text tool, which describes photos to people with vision loss. Now, with face recognition, visually impaired people who use screen readers will know who appears in photos in their News Feed even if people aren’t tagged.

Second, we’ll ask people who’ve previously chosen to share their political, religious, and “interested in” information in their profile to check that they want to continue to share it. We will also ask if they would like to opt into having us use any of this data to help show them more relevant ads. You can always choose to edit or delete this information.

Beyond GDPR, we’re providing more transparency and new tools and controls to people on Facebook around the world. Last month we announced that we’re working on a new control centre that will put the core settings for Facebook in one place, and make it much easier for people to manage their data. We also released our Privacy Principles and ran educational campaigns on and off Facebook to help people understand how to control their data – for example, how to delete content or even delete your account.

We’re making final preparations to ensure Facebook and all our products comply with the GDPR by May 2018, and we’ll share more information in the coming weeks.

For more information on how Facebook facial recognition works please visit:

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