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Photo by Alberto Pezzali/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Facebook is updating its terms of service to clarify what it does with user data. The updates are in response to major changes to Facebook's business since the last time it significantly updated the terms in 2015.

Why it matters: Yes, the terms were outdated. But this is also an opportunity for Facebook to play up its commitment to protecting user data after the Cambridge Analytica scandal — although the company says the update isn't connected to the controversy.

"As head of GDPR, I can tell you that we needed to update our terms anyway. This would’ve happened anyway."
— Rob Sherman, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, Facebook

The updates are in response to three major changes:

  1. Data policies around new services and business that Facebook has added since the last time it updated its terms, like Marketplace and Facebook Live.
  2. More information about the way Facebook shares user data within core businesses, like Instagram or Whatsapp. Facebook's different businesses often share data through the Facebook Audience Network, a combined data pool from Instagram, Messenger and Facebook used for ad targeting.
  3. More transparency about the commitments the company makes to data privacy, like the fact that it does not sell data on an individual level or to third-party vendors.

Our thought bubble: There have been a lot of rumors that Facebook is jumping on these updates in response to controversies like Cambridge Analytica and the EU's new sweeping data privacy law, GDPR. This update was coming down the tracks regardless — it's standard business practice to revise terms after building or acquiring new businesses. The updates do, however, underscore the new urgency at Facebook to be transparent about user data and to update policies transparently and regularly.

How it works: The company is rolling out its draft of the new terms today. They will be made available through News Feed posts for existing users and will be displayed for new users upon installing the app. The public will have seven days to comment on the draft terms. Facebook will use that feedback to create a finalized terms of services that it will roll out in the next few weeks.

  • All users will have to eventually agree to the new terms, according to Sherman.

Go deeper: See a full list of the updates.

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 14 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.