Why Facebook should use Visual Contracts

Facebook has been hit with a €1.2m fine in Spain after the country's data watchdog found it broke privacy laws. Among other violations the regulator found Facebook had failed to inform users how their data would be used as it hoovered up the details of millions of people in Spain. It said Facebook had failed to educate users on how their personal information - including ideology, sex, religious beliefs, personal interests and browsing habits - would be used for advertising. (Read the whole article)

Their privacy statement is using ‘generic’ and ‘unclear’ terms and is difficult to navigate. So most of the users will not understand what will happen with their data. And wouldn’t know if Facebook is violating their privacy rights, by unlawfully, selling their data to third parties.

It makes Facebook look like a shifty organisation instead of a cool platform creating social impact (facebook’s mission: to make the world more open and connected). We do understand why facebook doesn’t really want to communicate transparent about what they are doing (because you will read about how they freely use and sell your data for advertising). Nevertheless we believe people should be made aware of how Facebook is handling their data.

In 2015 Lieke Beelen (Visual Contracts) together with lawyer Janneke Boerman have been working on an alternative –more visual- privacy statement of Facebook as a case study. It is a first step and an example of how the privacy statement of Facebook could look like.

Read the report on our design process (in Dutch) here.

Although this project has been carried out in 2015, it is still relevant. Our concept is more accessible, understanding and engaging, than Facebook’s own privacy statement is (and probably will be in the next few years). We believe, by using such a privacy statement, Facebook can prevent from new accusations. And even more important, they will improve their reputation (from shifty to reliable) and customer satisfaction (users will feel safer when they exactly know what is happening with their data).

So dear Facebook, if you are reading this. We love to invite you for a Legal Design Sprint and work together on a visual, transparent, easy to understand and easy to navigate privacy statement. Just give us a call!