Facebook, like an old "friend" from high school who wants to get coffee and catch up some time, wishes it knew more about your personal life. At least, that's according to a couple of reports this week outlining a sharp decline in "original," personal posts from its users, and what Facebook is trying to do to reverse the trend. According to the Information, sharing across Facebook dropped about 5 percent year over year as of mid-2015. But that includes personal stuff such as engagement announcements, baby pictures or vacation photos as well as links to content that's already public, such as news articles. And personal sharing has dropped 21 percent year over year, the Information reported.
WhatsApp, one of the world's most popular messaging applications, has temporarily agreed not to share personal information from its European Union-based users with its parent company Facebook. The agreement, made with the United Kingdom's Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), will prevent WhatsApp from sharing any personal information with Facebook until both companies can sufficiently comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), set to go into effect in May.
The Ministry of Trade, Economy and Industry might set up a system to allow consumers to obtain their personal data, such as online shopping records and smartphone location-tracking data, from businesses in an electronic format, informed sources said. The system would also allow people to sell their data to other companies. At present, consumers can retrieve their personal data in a written format, in principle. The ministry thinks the new system will help increase requests for personal data disclosure and promote personal data transfers between businesses. Any improvement in the marketability of personal data is expected to help companies develop new products and services, such as automobile insurance policies that can be especially tailored to particular drivers, based on their driving data.
The government plans to draw up guidelines by the end of March aimed at getting companies to make more use of personal data such as customers' buying history. The guidelines are expected to include rules for protecting individual rights, informed sources said. Through the guidelines, the government aims to pave the way for creating private-sector services designed to manage such data, the sources said. The government has been trying to promote commercial use of personal information. But the effort has made little progress due partly to the personal information protection law, which includes a complicated process for obtaining data use permission.