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Facebook is expanding its data privacy spring cleaning initiative beyond the European Union (EU) to the rest of the world.

Last month, the social network first started asking users in the EU to review their privacy settings as part of the upcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which seeks to tighten the scope of data protection law in the EU. Facebook’s tactics for getting users to opt into new services, including facial recognition features, was criticized for the way it encouraged users to accept the terms and conditions by hiding the opt-out option.

Facebook indicated at the time that it would expand the scope of its privacy alerts to include the rest of the world, and now that is happening.

“Starting this week, we’re asking everyone on Facebook to review important information about privacy and how to control their experience,” said Facebook chief privacy officer Erin Egan, in a blog post. “People have told us they want clearer explanations of what information we collect and how we use it.”


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As with the EU, Facebook’s alerts still adopt a dark pattern design approach, whereby “confirm” is pre-selected without a readily visible “decline” option — one that doesn’t involve going through the labor-intensive “manage data settings” conduit.

But if you’ve been meaning to deactivate facial recognition, for example, from your Facebook account, now is as good a time as any to do it.

Above: Confirm?

Other elements you will be invited to edit include your advertising options and other personal information you’ve previously shared with Facebook, such as political, religious, and relationship data.

There is one key difference between the global privacy alerts and the European incarnation, as noted by Recode. In Europe, users are required to manually opt into the new privacy features — if they don’t, they won’t be able to use Facebook. Outside Europe, if a user chooses “remind me later” twice on the privacy screen prompt, Facebook will automatically opt the user into the terms.

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