Facebook Pop-Up Cafés to offer free privacy checks

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Facebook is launching its first pop-up cafés aimed at encouraging users to personalise their privacy settings.

The firm is opening pop-ups in London and Manchester, which will offer a free drink to visitors who choose to be guided through a privacy check-up on the site, with further branches to open in Brighton, Edinburgh and Cardiff over the next week. 

It comes as Facebook published research which suggests more than a fifth (22%) of UK social media users do not know how to customise their privacy settings on any platform.

Only half of those asked knew how to customise privacy settings on Facebook specifically, the report suggested.

(Facebook)
(Facebook/PA)

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny following a series of data privacy incidents, including the Cambridge Analytica scandal, for which the company has been heavily fined.

The social network has made a number of changes to its practices and has pledged to continue updating its range of apps, with founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announcing earlier this year that “the future is private” as he unveiled plans to make communications and other parts of Facebook’s business more secure.

Last week, Facebook also announced the testing of a new tool which will enable users to clear data linked to their account that has been gathered through their activities on other websites, which is used to tailor advertising on the platform.

Facebook vice president for northern Europe Steve Hatch said: “Millions of Brits use social media to connect and share with friends and family, but many are concerned about who is able to see what they post online.

“We want people to have more control of their experience on Facebook and know about the many new tools and features we’ve introduced to help manage their privacy.

“Doing a privacy check-up is quick and easy – but if you’re unsure how, then head down to one of our pop-up cafes. We can help you personalise your privacy settings – and all in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee.”

The social network is opening pop-ups at The Attendant in Hackney and Takk in Manchester on August 28 and 29, followed by the Flour Pot Cafe in Brighton on September 1, Union Brew Lab in Edinburgh on September 2 and 3, and the Coffee Barker in Cardiff on September 4 and 5.

Chris Price
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