Facebook about-face provokes ire

2012-11-28 19:50
(Joerg Koch, AP)

(Joerg Koch, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington -  Facebook has run into a fresh attack from privacy activists after the huge social network modified policies on how it manages users' data.

The changes unveiled last week ended Facebook's effort to allow users to vote on privacy policy, but also permits sharing of information with its newly acquired photo-sharing service, Instagram.

Additionally, the changes make it easier for advertisers and others to send messages on Facebook, limiting users' control, according to privacy rights groups.

Activists have raised a ruckus over the changes, saying they could violate some laws or Facebook's agreement with US regulators earlier this year after complaints from privacy groups.

The latest spat highlights Facebook's quandary on how it can monetize data from its billion users worldwide by sharing information and still live up to its pledge to protect privacy.

Facebook's stock price has slumped more than 30% since its hotly anticipated market début in May, in part due to concerns overs this problem.

Two groups this week sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg asking him to roll back the changes.

The Electronic Privacy Information Centre and Centre for Digital Democracy said in the letter that they found the changes announced 21 November "troubling".

"Facebook's proposed changes implicate the user privacy and the terms of a recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission," said the letter signed by EPIC's Marc Rotenberg and CDD's Jeffrey Chester.

Consent

"The settlement prohibits Facebook from misrepresenting the extent to which it maintains the privacy or security of covered information. Additionally, prior to any sharing of users' personal information with a third party, Facebook must make a clear and prominent disclosure and obtain the affirmative express consent of its users."

The letter said the end of the voting element terminates Facebook's pledge of "an open and transparent system of governance".

It said the changes also would limit users' ability "to prevent strangers from sending unwanted messages", and thus are "likely to increase the amount of spam that users receive".

The activists added that sharing information between Instagram and the main Facebook site reneges on an agreement to keep the unit independent.

Other activists also raised protests.

"The proposed changes are bad for users," John Simpson of Consumer Watchdog said.

"It takes away their right to be involved in privacy changes and allows Facebook to share data with affiliates in ways that it had not previous done. The changes clearly violate Facebook's consent agreement with the FTC and European data protection laws."

Simpson said Facebook "should withdraw the changes immediately or the FTC and European regulators must take strong action".

About face

Facebook on Tuesday declined to comment on the criticism.

In unveiling the changes last week, Facebook said the system of user voting was not working as intended.

"We deeply value the feedback we receive from you during our comment period," Facebook said in a message to users, while adding that the vote system "resulted in a system that incentivised the quantity of comments over their quality".

"Therefore, we're proposing to end the voting component of the process in favour of a system that leads to more meaningful feedback and engagement," Facebook said.

Facebook held its first privacy policy vote in 2009, when the social network was a privately held startup with about 200 million members.

The company has since grown to more than a billion users, moved to the former Sun Microsystems campus in the city of Menlo Park, California, and raised billions of dollars by going public with its initial public offering of stock in May.

Facebook said it was still considering feedback from its members through Wednesday, before finalising its policies.

Read more on:    facebook  |  mark zuckerberg  |  us  |  online privacy  |  social networks
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Caledon - 09:54 AM
    Road name: R316 Westbound
    DELAYS between the R326 Highway and Goudini
  • Thursday Newlands - 09:48 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    SLOW TRAFFIC on Wynberg Hill
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

DSTV Mobile iDrifta

The iDrifta is a plug and play mobile DVB-H receiver...

From R445.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.