Q.Do scammers send unsolicited text messages about credit card fraud? How do I know what is real?
A. Scammers will try just about anything to steal your money or your identity, so bogus credit card fraud alerts are certainly possible.
Many credit card companies have a warning system in place to automatically notify you of suspicious activity on your account, and will contact you by the method specified in your account settings — usually by text message, telephone call or email.
If you get a text message or email alert about fraud out of the blue and want to confirm its authenticity, call the customer-service number on the back of your card and ask to speak to a representative. If you prefer an online approach, log into your account on the company’s website (or mobile app) over a secure network connection and check for notifications about suspicious account activity. To be on the safe side, do not call the number or open any links that may have been included with the message, even though some can be legitimate.
Many financial institutions have sophisticated and automated fraud-detection algorithms that can quickly detect signs of unusual activity on your account — often before you are aware of it. Your purchasing history, geographic location of the charge, merchant choice and spending amounts are some factors typically used in fraud-detection systems.
If you want to see what other account protections are available from your bank or credit-card company, browse its website and look for its safety and security section. American Express, Discover, Mastercard and Visa all offer alerts and other security tools, as do many banks that issue cards, like Chase and HSBC.
Fraud happens year round, but because the Internal Revenue Service is on many people’s minds this month, also be on guard for tax-related scams. The IRS.gov site has information on the latest ruses and how to report them.
Personal Tech invites questions about computer-based technology to email@example.com. This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.
Trump echoed Kudlow’s sentiment in a Twitter post that said any tariffs would be reciprocal and that he saw a “Great future for both countries!”
“One of the reasons why we’re seeing quite a strong rally at the opening is that the administration over the weekend, including Mr Trump, basically tried to deflate the fears of a trade war,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.
“It appears the market has entered into a trading range and is basically fluctuating ahead of the earnings season.”
At 9:48 a.m. EDT the Dow Jones industrial average was up 138.69 points, or 0.58 percent, at 24,071.45.
The S&P 500 was up 13.8 points, or 0.53 percent, at 2,618.27 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 67.97 points, or 0.98 percent, at 6,983.08.
Ten of the 11 major S&P sectors were higher and 28 of the 30 Dow components were in the positive territory. Boeing was the biggest to the Dow, while gains in Apple shares led the gainers on the S&P 500.
AveXis stock rose 79 percent after Swiss drugmaker Novartis offered to buy the gene therapy company for $8.7 billion.
Merck’s shares rose 2.8 percent after the drugmaker’s blockbuster cancer drug, Keytruda, met the main study goal of helping previously untreated lung cancer patients live longer.
Uber said that the data from its ride network allows the company to understand the best locations to place the bicycles in different cities, so they can be used more frequently.
Since starting the pilot program a few months ago, Uber has found that the average distance of a ride on a Jump bike is about 2.6 miles — which is not much different than how far customers travel on average for an Uber car ride. Each bike is also being used six to seven times a day.
“The utilization of the bikes has been higher than expected,” Mr. Khosrowshahi said. “People are using these bikes for multiple trips a day.”
The bright red Jump bikes are part of a growing market for dockless bike-sharing services. Unlike the rows of Ford GoBikes available around the Bay Area or Citi Bikes in New York City, which have designated pickup and drop-off locations, dockless bikes like Jump are picked up wherever the last rider left them.
The idea is that the rider is supposed to leave the bike on the sidewalk without impeding pedestrians or attached to a public bike rack. However, some cities have complained that dockless bikes have become a nuisance, clogging sidewalks or left damaged in strange locations.
Ryan Rzepecki, Jump’s chief executive, started working on bike sharing almost a decade ago, initially with a company called Social Bicycles that sold bicycles to different cities. Progress was slow. However, in the last few years, as companies sought to do for other modes of transportation what Uber did for cars, on-demand bicycles have become a hot area of investment.
The company renamed itself Jump Bikes and focused on electric bicycles. It raised $10 million last fall and received permission from the city of San Francisco to start operating a bike-sharing service with 250 battery-powered bicycles.
Jump is also operating around 200 bikes in Washington D.C. and plans to double the number of bikes there in the next few months. It also expects to expand to 500 bikes in San Francisco in September.
As part of its pilot program with Uber, the Uber app presented users with a “bike” option in a drop-down menu. From there, the customer reserved a bicycle and was charged $2 for 30 minutes and then a per-minute fee after that.
Since Jump owns the bicycles, the acquisition introduces Uber to a new business model. Unlike the cars on its ride-hailing network, which belong to the drivers, Uber will have to own and maintain the Jump bicycles. Mr. Khosrowshahi said while it makes sense for Uber to own the bicycles in the early days, other companies may want to finance the bikes in the future when the market is more mature.
@TonyRobbins If you talk to more SURVIVORS and less sexist businessmen maybe you’ll understand what we want. We want safety. We want healing. We want accountability. We want closure. We want to live a life free from shame. That’s the reality of the @MeTooMVMT sir, do better.
• Convincing investors and regulators that the firm would shed risk
• Calming the waters at a firm troubled by internal squabbles, while also making deep cuts
More on Mr. Sewing: He apprenticed with the bank and gradually added responsibilities like overseeing an internal money-laundering inquiry into the Russia unit. But Gadfly warns that it isn’t clear how much institutional support Mr. Sewing will have.
Peter Eavis’s take: A resolute plan to shrink Deutsche Bank’s huge but unexceptional Wall Street businesses makes sense. But downsizing could mean lost revenue, executive departures and even surprise losses. If the next C.E.O. plays down the pain of such an adjustment, be skeptical.
Several senior officials blame [Steven] Mnuchin for the messy rollout. One source ripped him for “hiding the ball” by not looping enough people in after getting such a significant request from Trump. Another senior administration official defended Mnuchin, noting that after getting the order from Trump, he told the Staff Secretary and had multiple conversations with trade representative Bob Lighthizer, who worked in lock step with him on this.
• The Justice Department will appoint a U.S. attorney to speed up document production for a congressional inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s email management. (NYT)
• Michael Anton, the National Security Council spokesman and a defender of the president’s “America First” foreign policy, will leave the White House. (Politico)
How can the Kushners buy the rest of 666 Fifth Ave.?
Vornado says it has a handshake agreement for Kushner Companies to buy its 49.5 percent stake in the troubled Manhattan skyscraper. If that’s true, where is the money coming from, given that the Kushners have unsuccessfully traveled the world — from China to Qatar — in search of new backers? And what would the price of the deal be?
Breaking: Warren Buffett’s favorite banker gets into tequila
The investment firm of Byron D. Trott, BDT Capital Partners, announced this morning that it would buy a majority stake in Casa Dragones, the high-end tequila producer. (A bottle of the Joven would set you back almost $300.) It’s the latest sign of growing interest in the Mexican spirit.
The back story: The Casa Dragones co-founder Bertha González Nieves, got to know BDT over the past year, and began negotiating a deal last fall. “To have a partner that believes in entrepreneurship and is a long-term investor enables us to continue write our growth chapter,” she said. Mr. Trott told Michael, “Bertha is just one of these great, passionate visionary entrepreneurs.”
The context: Casamigos sold to Diageo for as much as $1 billion, but both Ms. Gonzalez and Mr. Trott said that wasn’t a factor in striking this deal.
The deals flyaround
• Novartis agreed to buy AveXis, a drug maker focused on treating an experimental gene therapy, for $8.7 billion. (Bloomberg)
• Bill Gates has sold $679 million worth of stock in Berkshire Hathaway for tax reasons, taking his stake below 5 percent. (Barron’s)
• How planned mergers like CVS-Aetna are reshaping U.S. health care by muscling out doctors. (NYT)
• Toshiba’s lenders are pushing the troubled company to stick with a plan to sell its memory-chip unit to a group led by Bain Capital despite pressure from an activist investor. (FT)
• Alibaba and other investors have pushed the valuation of the Chinese A.I. start-up SenseTime to $3 billion. (Bloomberg)
• The biggest investor in Santos, an Australian energy company, said it would consider the $10.3 billion takeover bid from Harbour Energy. (Bloomberg)
Come watch Corner Office interview Chobani’s founder live
On April 14 at 5 p.m., hear from Chobani’s founder and C.E.O., Hamdi Ulukaya, who has resurrected economies in two communities and made headlines for his leadership practices. He’ll be interviewed by David Gelles for a live version of the Corner Office column.
• Perella Weinberg Partners has hired Alex Wilmot-Sitwell, most recently of Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Matthew Smith, who led the U.K. corporate finance team for Barclays, as London-based partners. It has also hired Michael Hatchard, who retired recently from the law firm Skadden, as a senior adviser in London, and Louis Susman, a former U.S. ambassador to Britain, as an adviser in Chicago. (FT)
• Lucy Peng, who was appointed to lead Lazada, will step down as executive chairman at Ant Financial. Eric Jing, the C.E.O., will take on the executive chairman role. (FT)
Quote of the day
“These are front-stabbing knives. You only use these in New York. In Washington you use a shiv, or mechanisms in the press, back-stabbing, subterfuge, opposition research.”
Today, married couples in the United States are likely to have similar educational and career backgrounds. So while the typical husband still earns more than his wife, spouses have increasingly similar incomes. But that changes once their first child arrives.
Immediately after the first birth, the pay gap between spouses doubles, according to a recent study — entirely driven by a drop in the mother’s pay. Men’s wages keep rising. The same pattern shows up in a variety of research.
But the recent study reveals a twist. When women have their first child between age 25 and 35, their pay never recovers, relative to that of their husbands. Yet women who have their first baby either before 25 or after 35 — before their careers get started or once they’re established — eventually close the pay gap with their husbands.
The years between 25 to 35 happen to be both the prime career-building years and the years when most women have children.
The study — a working paper published by the Census Bureau in November — is one of several recent papers that show that children account for much of the remaining gender pay gap. That gap has narrowed significantly over the past four decades, as women have gotten more education and entered male-dominated professions, but a divide remains.
Women who have babies late typically have different career paths from those who have them early. Those who first give birth in their late 30s tend to be more educated with higher-earning jobs, while those who have babies in their early 20s have less education and lower earnings.
Low earners have a smaller pay gap in general, and people who have babies in their late 30s could have a smaller pay gap because they are less likely to have more than one child. But the fact that both groups of women recover their earnings, relative to their husbands, suggests there’s also something about having children outside the prime career-building years that hurts women’s pay less, no matter the occupation.
One explanation is that the modern economy requires time in the office and long, rigid hours across a variety of jobs — yet pay gaps are smallest when workers have some control over when and where work gets done. In high-earning jobs, hours have grown longer and people are expected to be available almost around the clock. In low-earning jobs, hours have become much less predictable, so it can be hard for working parents to arrange child care.
The issue, in general, comes down to time. Children require a lot of it, especially in the years before they start school, and mothers spend disproportionately more time than fathers on child care and related responsibilities. This seems to be particularly problematic for women building their careers, when they might have to work hardest and prove themselves most, and less so for women who have already established some seniority or who have not yet started careers.
Women are more likely to reduce their work hours, take time off, turn down a promotion or quit their jobs to care for family. Even in families in which both parents work full time, women spend almost double the time on housework and child care. And when women work fewer hours, they are paid disproportionately less and become less likely to get raises or promotions.
“This shows that the birth of a child is really when the gender earnings gap really grows,” said Danielle H. Sandler, a senior economist at the Census Bureau and an author of the paper.
The study found that over all, women earn $12,600 less than men before children are born and $25,100 less afterward. It analyzed earnings for opposite-sex, married couples who had their first child between 1978 and 2011, using earnings records from the Social Security Administration and data from the Census Bureau’s survey of income and program participation. It includes women who were working two years before their first child was born, no matter how their hours changed afterward.
The pay gap grows larger with each additional child. It does not begin to shrink until children are around 10. For most women, their pay never reaches that of their husbands.
One surprise about the recent round of research is that the findings have been so similar in the United States and family-friendly Scandinavia. The two have very different economies and family policies, yet in both places, women’s pay plummets after they have children. Scandinavian nations have generous paid parental leave as part of federal policy, while the United States government offers none.
It might be because both types of policies — no paid leave and very long paid leave — lead women to stop working. Economists have found that moderate-length leaves of several months are ideal for women to continue working.
“It seems like there could be a middle ground,” Ms. Sandler said, “where you’re given enough leave where you don’t have to quit your employment, but not so much time that you have the incentive to be out of the labor force for a long time.”
Research has shown other policies that would help: programs to help women re-enter the labor force; flexibility in when and where work gets done; subsidized child care. It also helps if men take time off after children are born and spend more time on child care, studies show.
The spousal pay gap was largest for those who had children in the 1980s. In the 1990s, the gap appeared to shrink. Mothers who had their first child then were still paid less than their husbands, but the gap started declining when the children were around 5, and recovered by the time they were 14.
Yet in the 2000s, the pattern reversed. The spousal pay gap is still large when children enter high school, and women do not seem on track to recover their earnings relative to their husbands. It’s unclear why.
It could be because the economy was stronger in the 1990s; because women’s labor force participation has flattened in recent years; or because women are having babies a little later, during the prime of their careers.
The pay gap is smaller for workers with lower earnings and less education. But the paper found that by the time children were 12, the less educated women had a gap similar to more educated ones, maybe because low-income women are more likely to stop working after having children.
High-earning women, by contrast, have a bigger pay gap earlier in their children’s lives because they have more income to lose.
“A woman who takes off some time or slows down or shifts into a smaller firm will be losing out on a really high income, which her husband appears to be getting” because he does not take time off or shift his career, said Claudia Goldin, a Harvard economist whose research has found the same pattern.
The group of women who had the biggest post-baby pay gap compared with their husbands was, paradoxically, women who earned more than their husbands before having children.
This is the opposite of what economists would predict of couples’ division of household labor based on rational financial decision-making. But it fits with previous research showing just how entrenched our gender roles are at home, even as women play a bigger role in the economy.
European leaders were largely silent after President Trump threatened to impose another $100 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. But watching from a safe distance as China and the United States argue is not an option for Europe. Its economy is too deeply entwined with both.
“What can they do in terms of staying out of the crossfire?” said Adam Slater, lead economist at Oxford Economics in Britain. “Not a lot.”
Although Mr. Trump’s threats are aimed at China, Europe is certain to suffer collateral damage if the president follows through. A spiraling war of tariffs and counter-tariffs would interfere with the global flow of raw materials and components for manufactured goods, disrupting the European economy. And some European companies, like the German carmaker BMW, manufacture in the United States and export to China. Such companies would see their sales suffer if China were to slap tariffs on American goods.
The mere threat of a trade war has already unsettled financial markets and made it more difficult for companies to raise money, Benoît Coeuré, a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank, said Friday. “None of this supports growth and employment,” Mr. Coeuré said at a conference in Cernobbio, Italy.
The disruption to world trade comes at an unfortunate time for Europe. Recent economic indicators suggest that the Continent’s recovery, after a decade of crisis, is losing momentum. Industrial production in Germany shrank 1.6 percent in February, according to official data published this week.
But European leaders’ biggest fear may be that Mr. Trump’s belligerent approach to trade will destroy the postwar system for resolving conflicts, which involved getting all the parties together in one room. Mr. Trump has already succeeded in forcing countries to beg for individual exemptions to steel and aluminum tariffs, bypassing the World Trade Organization, the usual forum for trade disputes.
“He has created an environment to divide countries,” said André Sapir, a senior fellow at Bruegel, a research organization in Brussels. “Maybe we will remember that 2017 was the last year of the functioning of the multilateral system.”
It’s possible Europe might enjoy a few short-term benefits as China and the United States duke it out. If, for example, China were to raise tariffs on Boeing airliners, its European rival Airbus could step into the breach. But positive effects of that sort are not likely to outweigh the risks.
European companies have invested far more in the United States over the years than they have in China. But increasingly, China is where the action is. Germany’s total trade with China, exports and imports together, is already bigger than it is with the United States. And China is the biggest single market for companies like Volkswagen, Europe’s largest carmaker.
China is also where more German companies are putting their money.
Even so, Europe remains wary of China’s intentions. Though European leaders use tamer rhetoric, they share some of Mr. Trump’s concerns about unfair competition from Chinese companies that receive government subsidies. They worry that Chinese companies are stealing European technology, and accumulating too much economic power.
In recent years, Chinese investors have snapped up European assets including Greek ports, German machinery companies and a 10 percent stake in the automaker Daimler. The Chinese government’s “Made in China 2025” campaign, a plan to dominate cutting-edge industry, is a threat to German companies who supply precision machinery that the Chinese companies are not yet able to manufacture themselves.
At the same time, Europe and the United States have been through a lot together, most notably the Cold War. Both are multiparty democracies with free market economies, unlike China’s one-party autocracy. And European and American historical and cultural ties go back centuries.
Still, a trade war could push Europe closer to China.
Europe’s most immediate preoccupation is to resolve its own trade disputes with Mr. Trump. Cecilia Malmstrom, the European commissioner for trade, is negotiating with Wilbur Ross, the United States commerce secretary, about winning a permanent exemption from tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. A temporary exemption to the tariffs expires May 1.
Ms. Malmstrom and other European leaders have also made plain their unhappiness with what they see as Mr. Trump’s crusade to undermine the World Trade Organization as the arbiter of trade conflicts. They may see China as a potential ally in efforts to preserve the W.T.O., of which China is also a member.
“The E.U. believes that measures should always be taken within the World Trade Organization framework which provides numerous tools to effectively deal with trade differences,” a spokesperson for the European Commission said in a statement.
For the moment, there is little Europe can do but hope that Mr. Trump’s bluster is just a tactic to win concessions from China, and that no trade war will break out. There are few other good options.
Mr. Sapir of Bruegel argues that, longer term, Europe should push for reforms of the trade body to respond to American criticism that the organization is too slow moving, and has failed to curb unfair competition by China. Mr. Trump is unlikely to take much interest in fixing the global trade regime rather than ignoring it, Mr. Sapir said, but it’s still worth a try.
“That is the only structural solution,” Mr. Sapir said. “Otherwise we will always be caught in between.”
YouTube’s distinction between its main product and YouTube Kids is significant because of the rules on disclosure and parental consent that kick in for sites with “actual knowledge” that they are trafficking in the personal information of children under 13.
Those rules were first detailed in the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, known as Coppa. The Federal Trade Commission expanded the act in 2012, noting that it needed to be updated for the age of mobile devices. The revised rules made clear that companies must obtain parental consent before collecting details that could be used to identify, contact or locate a child. These included photos, video, audio and the location of a child’s mobile device.
In the complaint that will be filed on Monday with the commission, the advocacy groups say YouTube is able to collect data on children under 13 through its main site, where cartoons, nursery-rhyme videos and those ever-popular toy-unboxing clips garner millions of views.
“We haven’t received the letter yet but look forward to reviewing it,” a spokeswoman for the Federal Trade Commission said in an email. She added that the commission took enforcement of Coppa “very seriously” and had brought more than two dozen cases tied to the rule.
YouTube provided an emailed statement that said the platform had not yet received the complaint but that “protecting kids and families has always been a top priority for us.”
”We will read the complaint thoroughly and evaluate if there are things we can do to improve,” the company went on. “Because YouTube is not for children, we’ve invested significantly in the creation of the YouTube Kids app to offer an alternative specifically designed for children.”
Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood who is also leading the coalition, said YouTube had been “actively packaging under-13 content for advertisers.”
To bolster their case, the groups shared screenshots of Barbie advertisements set to appear between videos aimed at children. They also pointed to a number of channels for toddlers and preschoolers within “Google Preferred,” a collection of top videos on the main YouTube site and app that are vetted and packaged for advertisers.
As YouTube’s popularity has surged, it has faced a string of issues related to content geared to children, from inappropriate videos that have appeared on its YouTube Kids app to deceptive advertising.
YouTube said this year that human beings working for the platform would screen all videos from creators whose work appeared on Google Preferred, which the consumer advocates cited as proof that Google employees “have actual knowledge that the content is child-directed.” YouTube has also brokered ad deals with toy companies like Mattel, and has noted how its video ads have helped children’s channels attract specific audiences, like American parents with children under 5.
Mr. Golin said he believed that YouTube was aware it was collecting and monetizing the data of children with such videos, and that the company should simply shift all the videos aimed at children to the YouTube Kids app.
“We know kids are primarily consuming this through iPads and mobile phones, which are not particularly conducive to group watching,” Mr. Golin said.
The complaint comes during a public reckoning around the collection and use of personal data by technology companies after revelations that Cambridge Analytica, a British political data firm, improperly harvested the information of possibly more than 80 million Facebook users. It also strikes a warning note for Google and YouTube overseas as Europe prepares to roll out new data privacy rules. Mr. Chester said the groups will encourage consumer advocates in Europe to file similar complaints about Google and YouTube under those rules, where penalties for companies will be stiff.
Dylan Collins, chief executive of SuperAwesome, a privacy technology firm used by companies that market to children, said questions around data collection would only grow as children continued to flood huge tech platforms that were built for adults.
“Silicon Valley now has a responsibility to figure out how to move from building adult tech into building kid tech,” Mr. Collins said. “I don’t think any company, whether it’s Facebook or YouTube or Snapchat, can hide from the fact that there are about 10 times more kids online today than there were six or seven years ago when their products were being designed or built.”
Nordstrom created a mock-up of the new men’s store in an industrial area outside Seattle, accessible only to employees, as it tried to figure out how best to appeal to both New York’s fashion mavens and more down-to-earth shoppers on lunch break.
“We know a market like New York doesn’t need just another place to buy a pair of pants,” said Peter Nordstrom, a company co-president and a great-grandson of the co-founder John W. Nordstrom.
The store may serve as a test case for whether department stores have a future, as people more frequently shop online. To compete, Nordstrom is aiming to combine cutting-edge technology with old-school in-store service.
Rag-snapping shoe shiners will work on the bottom floor, while digital screens in the suit section will display custom-made jackets on an avatar of the shopper. There will be 16 tailors on staff — part of the largest network of tailors in North America.
If a customer needs a tie at 2 in the morning, he can order it online and a Nordstrom employee will meet him at a store entrance — no matter the hour. Returns can be made by simply scanning an item at a digital kiosk and depositing it in a bin — no human interaction needed.
The company plans to open an even larger women’s store, totaling seven stories, across from the men’s store in the fall of 2019. And Nordstrom already operates two Nordstrom Rack stores — a line of discount stores that has flourished among bargain hunters — in Manhattan.
One reason the company is making such a big investment in Manhattan: Other similar businesses find that their Manhattan stores are among their best performing — despite all of the city’s recent retail turmoil.
But opening large, cutting-edge stores in one of the priciest real estate markets — and most competitive retail environments — in the world is a costly endeavor. “It is definitely risky, there is no question about it,” said Joel Bines, global co-head of retail at AlixPartners, a consulting firm. “You need to have nerves of steel to attempt to run a large-scale profitable shopping destination in Manhattan.”
Nordstrom must also answer to Wall Street, where investors easily get impatient with companies that make long-term investments at the expense of profits.
Nordstrom shares have fallen about 40 percent since April 2015 and some analysts have grown frustrated with the company’s strategy. A JPMorgan analyst recently called out the company’s “inconsistent multiyear track record” on expenses and questioned the company’s predictions of increasing profits.
“We have heard this story before,” the analyst wrote in a research note.
Last June, the family — which founded the company as a shoe store in 1901 — sought shelter from the stock market.
Peter Nordstrom and his brothers Erik and Blake, the company’s three co-presidents, and their father, Bruce Nordstrom, the company’s former longtime chairman, and a few other family members set out to acquire all of the company’s shares and take the retailer private.
Next month,a comprehensive new data protection law goes into effect in the European Union, placing greater requirements on how companies like Facebook and Google handle users’ personal information. It also strengthens individuals’ rights to control the collection and use of their data.
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive, said his company would offer its users all over the world the same privacy controls required under the European law.
What would that look like for Facebook users? That is still a work in progress. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company would provide more details about its plans in the coming weeks.
In the meantime, here are some of the general requirements and rights under the new European law.Although some of the practical steps that companies must take are still being worked out, several European privacy and consumer advocates, who had pushed for the new law, offered their thoughts on what Facebook might need to do to extend the protections to its users worldwide.
Minimizing Data Collection
The European law, called the General Data Protection Regulation, requires companies to collect and store only the minimum amount of user data needed to provide a specific, stated service. That means a flashlight app should not be asking users for access to their photos or contacts.
Anna Fielder, a senior policy adviser at Britain-based Privacy International, said she thought the new law would require the social network to change certain advertising and other settings to make privacy, and not sharing, the default. Currently, the company makes certain user profile details public by default. And the default advertising settings allow targeted ads based on a user’s relationship status, employer, job title, education and use of websites and apps.
In a statement in response to questions, Rob Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said, “We need to do more to keep people informed and in control.” He noted that the company had recently introduced a new “privacy shortcuts” menu that centralized major privacy, security and ad settings. “These are just a few small steps and there’s more to come,” he said.
Obtaining Users’ Consent
The European law requires companies like Facebook and Google to use clear and plain language to explain how they will use their users’ personal details. The companies must also provide information about what other kinds of entities users’ data will be shared with. Digital platforms must also obtain consent from individuals for many uses of their data.
When companies want to use individuals’ data for a new purpose, they must explain that new purpose and obtain users’ permission. And companies must get special permission from users to collect and use sensitive details like health information, unless that data is clearly related to the purpose of the service, such as a diabetes management app.
That means Facebook will probably need to rework its data policy and terms of service, said Finn Lützow-Holm Myrstad, director of digital policy at the Norwegian Consumer Council, a nonprofit group in Oslo. He added that he thought the law would also require Facebook to give users more “real choices, not take it or leave.”The current data policy requires people who sign up for the social network to allow Facebook to, among other things, track them on many other apps and websites.
Mr. Sherman, Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, said that Facebook was updating its terms of service and data policy to ensure that it complied with the new European law.Those updates cover users worldwide, with legal variations in some places.
The European law gives individuals the right not to be subject to completely automateddecisions which significantly affect them. These decisions could include credit algorithms that use an individual’s data to decide whether a bank should grant him or her a loan.
Privacy International said the clause on automated decisions could allow consumers to challenge Facebook practices like political advertising, which can be sent to users based on algorithms, because the ads are meant to sway users’ votes.
Facebook currently has a section called “Your Ad Preferences” that allows users to opt out of seeing ads based on their relationship status, employer,education, interests, and use of websites and apps. Users can also hide ads related to three topics — alcohol, pets and parenting — or suggest a topic they would rather not see ads about.
Accessing Data About You
The European law gives people the right obtain a copy of the records that companies hold about them.
At the end of March, the company announced new tools to let its users see and delete information such as their friend requests and their Facebook searches.
But if Facebook wants to offer European-level privacy protection to all, it would also need to provide its users with the data that Facebook itself collected or created about them, including any categories, descriptions or behavior scores Facebook assigned to them, European privacy experts said. And it should provide users who seek their own records with any data that Facebook has obtained from tracking them around the web as well as any data that Facebook obtained about them from third parties, like data brokers, they said.