Facebook users worldwide are being asked to review their privacy settings as GDPR looms

Key Points
  • Facebook is telling all users to review their privacy settings, including information they share on their profiles and facial recognition preferences.
  • The alert is related to a European regulation called GDPR that gives users more control over what personal data is shared through online platforms.
Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg answers questions about the improper use of millions of users' data by a political consultancy, at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, in this still image taken from Reuters TV May 22, 2018
ReutersTV | Reuters

Facebook users will soon see a notice on their accounts asking them to review their privacy settings, as the company prepares for the rollout of new data protection rules in Europe.

The alert, which starts appearing this week, asks users across the globe to reassess their preferences for the types of personal data Facebook can use for ad targeting and whether they'll submit to facial recognition. They'll be given the chance to review the information they share on their profiles, including political and religious affiliations and relationship status.

Consumers will see how Facebook uses their activity to send targeted ads and what the company does with its facial recognition tools. Facebook will show them which features they currently have turned on, allowing them to opt out if they choose.

Though Facebook is facing a barrage of criticism in the U.S. over data protection, following the Cambridge Analytica scandal in March, this week's notice is in response to the General Data Protection Regulation in Europe. The alert has already appeared for European users, but this time it is getting a worldwide rollout.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said during a meeting with European Parliament members on Tuesday that the company doesn't want users to "just, you know, click 'OK' or 'no' on a bunch of stuff" so they can "get to what they were trying to do."

GDPR, which will become law on Friday, gives consumers more control over their online data. Websites are required to ask users to give more explicit consent about what personal information they share. Companies also have to alert users to data breaches within 72 hours of the incident and must allow users to see what platforms know about them.

Though GDPR is a European regulation, most online companies are rolling out the privacy changes across their network. Industry analysts say it's too expensive to maintain two sets of rules, and legal issues could get murky as data cross international boundaries.