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Facebook Updates Policies After Privacy Outcry, Limits Data Use

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Facebook Inc. updated its data policy to better spell out what information it collects and how the company uses it across the social network and other services like Instagram and Messenger.

"These updates are about making things clearer," the company said in a statement. "We’re not asking for new rights to collect, use or share your data on Facebook. We’re also not changing any of the privacy choices you’ve made in the past."

Facebook is making the changes after being criticized around the world for losing track of data on about 50 million users. The information was culled by a researcher and sent to political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked on President Donald Trump’s campaign.

Facebook’s policies have been confusing to users, especially as they relate to apps that the company owns and how those services use data. Facebook clarified this week that it scans chats sent via its Messenger service to make sure they abide by the overall terms, for example. 

“Facebook is part of the same company as WhatsApp and Oculus, and we explain how we share services, infrastructure and information,” the company said. “We also make clear that Facebook is the corporate entity that provides the Messenger and Instagram services, which now all use the same data policy. Your experience isn’t changing with any of these products.”

(Updates with details on Messenger in fourth paragraph.)
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