Is Facebook Influencing Oath Inc’s Privacy Terms

Reactions from Facebook’s congressional hearings have ranged from bemused to downright terrified. Yet while the hearings were going on, other companies were in the process of changing their own privacy terms.  From Yahoo to AOL, new privacy terms further detail how the company collects data from its users.

A New Eye On Privacy

Privacy policies are nothing new, nor are the elements that make some of those policies seem less than ideal for the consumer. It’s only now the virtual world is taking a closer look thanks to the trials and tribulations of Facebook. And it’s not just their stock that’s gone down in the public eye; everyone is wondering just how much of their information is out there, and what other companies the general public should be keeping an eye on.

Oath Inc.

One of the companies now in the spotlight is Oath Inc., a subsidiary of Verizon. Verizon is already a well-known company. But in 2017, Verizon placed AOL and the newly acquired Yahoo! under the Oath umbrella. This means that HuffPost, MapQuest, and Tech Crunch (subsidiaries of AOL) as well as Flickr, Tumblr, and Yahoo! Mail (subsidiaries of Yahoo!) could be affected.
 

What the New Policies State

Oath’s new privacy terms  focus on a few key points.  Oath states they make “educated guesses about your interests based on your activity on Oath’s brands, websites, apps, products, services or technologies.”
 
These automated systems pull in the information you’re looking up or the places you’re engaging with including “sent,” “received,” and “stored, including communications content from [Oath-related brands]” synced with your account. These places include but are not limited to:
  • Mail
  • instant messages
  • SMS messages
  • “information financial institutions are allowed to send over email”
  • “all photos and other content uploaded to your account.”

All of this is done in the name of advertisement targeting.

What It Means

If you’ve ever looked up baby shower gifts then suddenly been bombarded by everything from strollers to breast pumps, you have an innate understanding of targeted advertising. Oath’s automated systems create an environment where even if that surprise baby shower was a secret, it’s certainly not a secret when it comes to advertising.

 
That being said, there are a few caveats to how Oath uses your data. For one, Oath insists messages are only shared with people you want. But, as it states in their privacy terms, Oath may “anonymously or pseudonymously share specific objects from a message with a 3rd party.” And yes, if you have Yahoo Mail, the company “respects your choice to opt out of interest-based ads.”

Fear Not The Zuck

While congress and the media  fanatically “expose” Facebook (which DOES NOT SHARE IT’S CUSTOMER DATA WITH 3RD PARTIES) it seems that Oath is taking advantage of a little misdirection.  Then again, these emails services are FREE.  Don’t like it?  Don’t use free email services.

Keep Up To Date

If there’s one thing that never changes, it’s just how much things change over time. With a greater focus on privacy issues, chances are likely that we will see a shift in privacy terms and the politics that guide them.
 
At ReviewInc, we value your privacy. That is why ReviewInc is independently certified by HIPAAMart to be HIPAA compliant. ReviewInc also maintains a strict privacy policy. If ever there’s a concern about privacy or how this can effect reputation management, look no further than a ReviewInc expert.

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Knowing Facebook’s Rules Can Improve Your Business

27688046 - word cloud with terms and conditions related tags

These days, there are standards for everything. Facebook, for instance, has their own set of community standards and terms of use. These standards are there to protect the consumer and the business. In many ways, it’s intended to police the consumer, putting the kibosh on hate speech and trolling. Luckily, it is to the benefit of business owners and social media managers alike.

Where to Find Facebook’s Regulations

Facebook’s Community Standards page is a catch-all for everyone who uses the site. They keep things pretty simple. Don’t sell or trade drugs. Encourage respectful behavior. And respect the intellectual, individual, and property rights. While it’s laid out plainly, the Community Standards page does not go deep into detail.

As a business owner or social media guru, what you want is the Terms of Service page. Keep this link in your back pocket. After all, you do not want to be searching for it through roundabouts on the Facebook pages when you need it most.

The Golden Rule Applies

Now that you know your own rights, you’re probably wondering how this can help you as a business owner. Your best bet is looking at the Terms of Service page. The first thing you should take a look at is section 3, labeled “Safety.” Here, it shows you cannot do anything illicit, but neither can anyone else. A person cannot intimidate, harass, or bullying a business. Inversely, a business engaging in this behavior spells disaster for a business’s Facebook page.

That said it isn’t always a simple case of bullying. Creating a false account can be grounds for expulsion from the website. Located in section 4, Registration and Account Security, it says that anyone falsifying their personal information in Facebook is against Facebook’s terms of use. And in section 5, Protecting Other People’s Rights, it says repeatedly infringing or violating someone’s rights or the law could spell expulsion from the website.

The Warning Label to be Aware of

After you read through the Terms of Service page, you may be a bit nervous about one thing in particular. Here it is in legalese:

“[…] you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless you’re content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

You may own what you post on your pages, but Facebook has the right to do anything they please with your posts. As far as adhesion contracts go, this may be scary when it comes to intellectual property. Even so, Facebook protects its users when others use your logo or brand name without your permission.

The part that makes this interesting is how you can use other people’s information. If this applies to you as a business owner, what about original posts by your customers such as reviews?

Sensitive Information

It’s also important for businesses not to post their customer’s information or take any kind of property. Facebook dictates you need consent if you collect information from your customers. This is especially the case for things like comments or user reviews. Say you want testimonials on your website. According to Facebook, you have to do three things. First, you need consent from the customer. Next, you need to make it clear that you and not Facebook is the recipient of the information. And last, you also need to give customers your business’s privacy policy so they know that you will not post their personal information or document.

What This Means for Your Reviews

Sometimes understanding Facebook’s rules is difficult as a business owner. This is especially the case with their terms of service and their online reviews. But, once you have that knowledge under your belt, you’ll be able to navigate Facebook even better. What’s more is your business is more likely to succeed in the world of social media.

This article is just our interpretation of Facebook’s terms and should not be relied upon as official legal interpretation. It’s a good idea to consult an attorney for clarification and how these terms apply specifically to your business and its needs.

If you have any more questions about Facebook, improving your online reviews, or reputation management, we offer free consultations. Call ReviewInc at 877-973-8439, leave ReviewInc your contact information or email ReviewInc at info@reviewinc.com to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation.