In case you missed the story over the weekend, Facebook is clarifying its data use policy to give users more information on how their personal information is being used.  Erin Egan, Facebook’s Chief Privacy Officer, is holding an online chat today today to answer questions people have.

Facebook’s saying the updates don’t represent substantial changes to its business practices but are being provided to be more transparent.   The changes will do 2 things — help Facebook meet European Union data privacy laws and also respond to feedback its gotten from users.  Last year, the Irish Data Protection Authority asked Facebook to be more transparent about how it collects and uses people’s data for advertising purposes as well as how long Facebook retains that personal information.

Here’s a quick summary of the updates:

  • Users may start seeing ads on other sites they visit that are targeted to interests, hobbies, and other information provided on Facebook;
  • A new section’s been created on Facebook.com explaining how Facebook uses such technologies as “cookies” to deliver ads as well as other security-enhancing technologies; and
  • These changes could be giving users a hint of how Facebook might want to use personal information in the future — maybe by showing users ads outside of Facebook.com or on its mobile apps.  The privacy policy updates seem to give it that option.

Facebook users will be notified about the changes through ads around the site and on its mobile apps.  The change will also be included in the online version.

Facebook users will want to read the updated privacy policy — and join in Ms. Egan’s online chat today if you’ve got time.