On May 25, Europe will be getting the biggest, most comprehensive regulation to help users get control over their data.
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will force companies to get clear, unquestionable consent from users before gathering any type of personal data from them. If a company fails to keep that data safe, it will be subjected to a fine of up to 4% of its global annual revenue. In the case of Facebook, that means a scandal like the one that involved Cambridge Analytica would not end in a few hearings, but in losses amounting to billions of dollars.
All companies that collect user data from European citizens, no matter where their headquarters are located, will have to comply to these regulations or fines.
This obviously means Facebook has to do that as well, but only in the case of European citizens, not its entire user base. This was confirmed by Facebook to Reuters in an extremely sneaky, roundabout way.
At this moment, all Facebook members outside the US and Canada have accepted the terms of service fromFacebook’s headquarters in Ireland, which is a country where GDPR will be enforced.
To avoid extending that regulation over users from Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America who are now under Ireland’s umbrella, Facebook will simply and quietly change those terms of service. This will affect 1.52 billion users who will lose GDPR’s protection. Meanwhile, there are only 370 million European Facebook users.
While fines are a good idea, as it would mean that Facebook and others that mishandle user data won’t go unpunished, GDPR has another great benefit for users under its protection.
The regulation also brings the “right to be forgotten”, which means you could ask Facebook to delete any type of data that belongs to you for good. In essence, it’s what the #deletefacebook movement hoped to achieve.
But only in Europe.