Menu
Digital watchdogs warn of spam, privacy issues with Facebook changes

Digital watchdogs warn of spam, privacy issues with Facebook changes

The Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy sent a letter on Tuesday to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Two digital rights group urged Facebook on Tuesday to halt changes to its governance and data use policies, warning the modifications could increase privacy risks.

Facebook said last Wednesday it would no longer allow users to vote on proposed policy changes. The social networking site also changed its Data Use Policy, allowing third parties to access user data, and modified a setting that allows users to control the types of messages they receive by email.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) and the Center for Digital Democracy (CDD) have asked Facebook to withdraw the changes, arguing that users have a right to control their personal information and participate in Facebook's governance.

"Because these proposed changes raise privacy risks for users, may be contrary to law, and violate your previous commitments to users about site governance, we urge you to withdraw the proposed changes," the groups wrote in a joint letter addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Facebook previously allowed users to vote on proposed governance changes if 7,000 users contributed "substantive" comments. Subsequent policy votes were considered binding if more than 30 percent of all active registered users voted.

But the company said the system "incentivized the quantity of comments over their quality," and it wants a system with more meaningful feedback.

Facebook also plans to change its Data Use Policy that would allow it to share user information with other companies that are part of Facebook. EPIC and the CDD wrote that the change would allow Facebook to combine user information held by its recent acquisition Instagram and "freely share user data between the two sites."

The groups warned that Facebook's settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission mandated that the site clearly disclose data sharing and "obtain the affirmative express consent of its users."

Facebook finalized the agreement with FTC in August after the agency charged it was repeatedly sharing information that users believed was kept private. Under the settlement terms, Facebook admitted no guilt but agreed to obtain users' consent before sharing their information beyond their established privacy settings.

EPIC and the CDD said Facebook's third change to its messaging settings would likely increase spam. The change allows anyone who had been added to a message thread to reply to it, which the groups said removes users' ability to prevent strangers from sending unwanted messages to their real email addresses from Facebook's messaging system.

Facebook officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags privacyinternetFacebooksocial networkingElectronic Privacy Information CenterInternet-based applications and servicesCenter for Digital Democracy

Featured

Slideshows

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2019

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2019

The leading players of the New Zealand channel came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the annual Reseller News Platinum Club lunch in Auckland. Following the Reseller News Innovation Awards, Platinum Club provides a platform to showcase the top performing partners and start-ups of the past 12 months.

Reseller News Platinum Club celebrates leading partners in 2019
Reseller News hosts alumnae breakfast for Women in ICT Awards

Reseller News hosts alumnae breakfast for Women in ICT Awards

Reseller News hosted its second annual alumnae breakfast for the Women in ICT Awards in New Zealand, designed to showcase the leading female leaders in the industry. Held at The Cordis in Auckland, attendees came together to hear inspiring keynotes and panel discussions, alongside high-level networking among peers. Photos by Gino Demeer.

Reseller News hosts alumnae breakfast for Women in ICT Awards
Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019: meet the winners

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019: meet the winners

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 480 technology leaders in Auckland on 23 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, emerging entrants and innovative start-ups.

Reseller News Innovation Awards 2019: meet the winners
Show Comments