20th Apr 2018 by Jess Bashford

Facebook begins update process ahead of GDPR rule changes and P&G return to YouTube

Facial recognition opt in hits European and Canadian users

Facebook originally began face-matching users outside Canada in 2011, but stopped doing so for EU citizens the following year after protests from regulators and privacy campaigners. But now, Facebook has started asking European and Canadian users to let it use facial recognition technology to identify them in photos and videos.

The new request is one of several opt-in permissions being rolled out in advance of a new data privacy law.

We all know the drama Facebook faced during the Cambridge Analytica scandal,l but now the social network is also facing a class-action lawsuit in the US for deploying the facial recognition technology there without users' explicit consent.

Facebook is trying to rectify its issues and users outside the EU and Canada will be prompted to review a similar set of privacy controls in the upcoming months, but they will continue to be subject to facial recognition unless they opt out of the system.

You may have seen the facial recognition facility on Facebook when you’ve uploaded a photo of you and your friends; it’s that little box that pops up asking you to tag them. It works by assigning each user a unique number called a template which is calculated by analysing the way they look in their profile photograph and other images they have already been identified in.

Untagged faces are then represented in a similar manner and compared to the database of templates; and when a match is found, Facebook prompts both the person posting an image and the people appearing in it to apply the relevant name tags.

The new settings are being deployed ahead of the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which comes into force on 25 May. The law tightens existing privacy rules, forbids the use of pre-ticked boxes for consent, and increases the amount organisations can be fined for non-compliance.

Under the new system, users click a single button saying "accept and continue" to turn on face recognition, but have to delve deeper into the "manage data setting" options to confirm they want it turned off.

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More Facebook updates ahead of the new data rules

Facebook seems to be the only social network being talked about and scrutinised during the GDPR and new data rules motion, which shouldn’t be the case, but we guess they have been made a scapegoat due to previous scandals, so we don’t have much sympathy!

In order to comply with the upcoming changes, Facebook will also be asking for the following consent to meet its new obligations.

If a user has added information about their religious views, political beliefs or sexuality, they will be asked whether they agree to continue allowing that information to be displayed to others and whether they permit Facebook to use the data to provide personalised recommendations.

Users will also be asked if they authorise data gathered from elsewhere - including third-party websites and apps - to be used to pick which ads are shown to them on Facebook and Instagram

Under GDPR, children are also afforded added protections, which the EU's members can decide to limit to those under 13 or extend to those under 16.

While Facebook already bans under-13s from being members, in affected countries, it will now ask under-16s for the permission of a parent or guardian to show adverts based on their interests, include their religious and political views in their profiles and allow them to express their sexuality by registering whether they are "interested in" men, women or both.

With all these changes, we hope it makes a difference and the internet and social channels become safer places.

P&G return to YouTube

Procter & Gamble, one of world's biggest advertisers, has kept its ads off YouTube for more than a year over concerns about inappropriate content. But shut the front door...it is now returning to the video site, but is being a lot more selective than before.

P&G, which owns household names like Crest and Tide, stopped spending on YouTube in March 2017 following an outcry over extremist and other disturbing videos. The boycott spread to other marquee marketers, prompting Alphabet Inc.'s Google to overhaul YouTube policies and hire more human moderators to clean up the service. Other marketers such as Verizon ended their boycotts more quickly.

"We paused advertising, and for the past year, we've worked extensively with YouTube to improve brand safety," Tressie Rose, a P&G spokeswoman, said in a statement. "We now feel the right measures are in place for P&G brands to have the option to advertise on YouTube."

P&G is doing things differently this time, though. It plans to only advertise on videos the company has reviewed and approved. Those clips will come from fewer than 10,000 YouTube channels, according to P&G. The company used to market through about 3 million YouTube channels.

Still, winning back P&G is a success for Google. The YouTube ad boycott cast a shadow over one of the internet giant's fastest-growing businesses. The exact financial impact has been unclear, because Google doesn't report YouTube results, but its presence was definitely felt

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