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Meta strengthens user protection programme


Meta has strengthened its privacy policy program to safeguard users’ data by amping up monitoring and independent oversight.

The parent company of Facebook and Instagram, WhatsApp has also ruled out selling users’ data to anyone.

Arianne Jimenez, Privacy Policy Manager at Meta in the Asia Pacific in a virtual media briefing, highlighted that protecting people’s information was central to Meta’s vision of being a privacy-focused communications platform.

Speaking in detail about the upgraded privacy policy, she said Meta has committed to giving people more control over their privacy choices.

“That is why it (Meta) has built tools to give people more transparency and control over how their data is used,” she said, adding that these tools include privacy check-ups, privacy shortcuts, manage activity, audience selector tool, who can look me up, and the privacy center with an enhanced “Ad Preferences” to let people take control of their advertisement preferences.

The interactive media session was part of Facebook’s awareness campaign targeting its female and younger audience that was largely unaware of the privacy options available to them on the platform.

“Meta uses technical tools to protect the users’ records. These tools make privacy, security, and ad control settings more accessible to the users, aside from helping them decide who can see what they share and control how people find them on Facebook,” Jimenez said.

Facebook and Instagram have installed Artificial Intelligence (AI) to monitor the spread of sensitive posts, especially during religious and social occasions, to protect vulnerable communities from unrest and turmoil.

“We have brought privacy improvement and enhancement in record time under the upgraded privacy program”, she said adding that they have an ad-driven economic policy and therefore introduced options of Ad Preferences giving users more control to ensure personalized advertising and privacy are not at odds.

Regarding the measures taken by Meta Fahad Qadir, Policy Communications Lead South Asia Pacific said that the company regularly updates its security and privacy policies as social media was a very fast-moving platform.

“To avoid any miscreant’s activity on sensitive occasions like Muharram or other religious events or even during a volatile political situation – we have special IT-based arrangements to monitor such movement and, if reported, we will block such posts very soon,” said Qadir.

To protect its users, Meta has put into place a very strict policy regarding a Take Down Request (TDR), or sharing data of any user or account, even with regulatory bodies or governments.

For requests from the government to block any content, the telecom sector regulator, PTA, has to contact Meta in writing citing reasons for their concern. The company then investigates the report; however, only content in breach of the platform’s safety guidelines has taken down, he explained.

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