Posts Tagged ‘ftc complaint’

Much has been written in the past several days about the changes in Facebook’s privacy policy that have been made over the last few weeks. Most of us who follow these things feel that Facebook is again reacting to the continuing explosive growth of Twitter. A recent agreement with Google to allow Facebook posts to appear in Google’s new real-time search also contributes to Facebook’s attempt to make your Facebook information available to the world.

Currently, much of the personal information of Facebookers that was previously only available to their “friends” is now in the public domain. Facebook urges its users to make more of their information available. This benefits Facebook’s software developers as well as anyone else trolling for information. For example, Facebook’s default setting now makes any photos that you post on your page available to the world. Prior to the changes, these could only be seen by your Facebook “Friends.” The same is true for your Facebook “Friends” list. Now that Facebook is cooperating with Google, your photos and “friends” list could show up in Google searches.

Note: Facebook has modified this feature but you must take direct action by going into your Facebook Account Settings and checking whether you want this information available to only your “friends,” “friends of friends,” or the whole world.

Perhaps Facebook’s senior managers felt that, once again, they could make drastic changes to their policy, and, after the obligatory dust-up, things would return to normal. Not this time.

Ten groups have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stating that the recent changes in Facebook’s Privacy Policy “violate user expectations, diminish user privacy and contradict Facebook’s own representations.” The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) as well as the American Library Association, Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Federation for Privacy Rights, Privacy Activism, Privacy Rights Now Coalition, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and the U.S. Bill of Rights Foundation. The complaint is posted on EPIC’s site.

Concern has also been raised about how this information could be used in totalitarian countries. Nick O’Neill discusses this on the All Facebook Blog.

Facebook has responded by saying “We’ve had productive discussions with dozens of organizations around the world about the recent changes, and we’re disappointed that EPIC has chosen to share their concerns with the FTC while refusing to talk to us about them.” Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt said that Facebook has had ongoing discussion with the FTC regarding the privacy changes.


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