Facebook updates data use policy to give more info

Posted May 11, 2012, at 9:49 p.m.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2010.
Marcio Jose Sanchez | AP
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg talks about the social network site's new privacy settings in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2010.

NEW YORK — Facebook is updating its data use policy in an attempt to give people more clarity on how the company uses information they share.

As part of the changes, Facebook is also signaling that it may start showing people ads on sites other than Facebook, targeting the pitches to interests and hobbies that users express on Facebook.

The move comes a week before Facebook Inc.’s expected initial public offering of stock. Facebook held events with potential investors this week, including one in Silicon Valley on Friday, and it has posted a version of its road show online. The offering could value Facebook at nearly $100 billion — more than Kraft, Ford and other major brands.

The policy changes are in response to an audit by Irish data-protection authorities last year, Facebook said Friday. The commission had asked Facebook to be more transparent about how it collects people’s data and uses it for advertising, as well as how long it keeps such information.

Facebook plans to notify its more than 900 million users of the changes through advertisements around the site and on its mobile apps. Users who want to dig deeper can read a version of the policy that highlights the changes word by word. Erin Egan, Facebook’s chief privacy officer, will host an online chat Monday to answer any questions.

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