Facebook will start asking its European customers this week for permission to use their personal data for targeted advertising and other features in an effort to comply with the European Union's new data privacy regulations.

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect on May 25, was passed two years ago to tighten restrictions on companies that collect user data on anyone in the European Union. Under the rule, online businesses of all stripes will be required to add more privacy controls and explain to users why they collect certain information.

Facebook announced in a blog post on Tuesday that users in Europe will soon get a prompt asking if they'd like to see targeted advertising based on personal information they've shared with the company--such as religious and political beliefs--or its external partners. The company will also ask users for permission to use its facial-recognition technology, which Facebook hasn't used in Europe yet because of regulations.

These prompts will expand to users in other parts of the world, including the United States, in the coming months. However, the new consent prompts don't offer users a way to opt out of Facebook's data collection when they aren't on the site, privacy activists told The Wall Street Journal.  If you visit a website that has a Like button plug-in, for example, your browser may send Facebook a small amount of information about you even if you're not logged in. 

Published on: Apr 18, 2018