Facebook cafes to encourage users to check privacy settings

The five pop-ups will give out free drinks to those who take part in a privacy settings check.
The five pop-ups will give out free drinks to those who take part in a privacy settings check.

Facebook is to open a number of pop-up cafes around the UK as part of a scheme to encourage social network users to run privacy check-ups.

The social media firm will run the cafes in existing shops in London, Manchester, Brighton, Edinburgh and Cardiff where it will encourage users to examine their privacy settings in exchange for a free cup of tea or coffee.

The check-ups enable users to edit their Facebook settings to personalise how much information is seen by others, as well as seeing which apps and websites users have linked to their Facebook account and can access some information on a Facebook account.

The Facebook logo displayed on a laptop
Facebook has come under scrutiny following a series of high-profile privacy-related incidents (Dominic Lipinski/PA)

The series of cafes, which will open between August 28 and September 5, comes as the social network published research which suggests half of Britons worry about their social media privacy.

A third said they worried about a stranger seeing their posts, the same number who said they worried about someone they did not know overhearing a private conversation in real life.

According to the research, those in London and Scotland need the most help with their privacy settings – 27% of those in London and 26% in Scotland said they did not know how to customise their privacy settings on social media.

Facebook has come under intense scrutiny following a series of data privacy-related 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 to make updates to its range of apps, with founder and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg declaring earlier this year that “the future is private” as he announced plans to make communications and other parts of Facebook’s business more secure.

Steve Hatch, Facebook’s vice president in northern Europe said: “It’s normal to worry about who can see the things you share on social media, but not everyone knows what they can do about it. That’s why we have made customising your privacy settings on Facebook quick and easy.

“At our pop up cafes you can get help and advice on how to change your privacy settings – and all in the time it takes to make a cup of coffee.”

The social network confirmed its pop-ups will open 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.