Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Facebook in Trouble with Consumer Privacy Groups–Again

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Two different privacy watchdog groups–the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy–are asking Facebook to reconsider proposed changes to its privacy policy. Last week, Facebook announced to users that it planned to do away with a user voting mechanism that is rarely used, that it wanted to change the mechanism for controlling who can message users, and that it wanted to share Facebook data with other brands its owns, such as Instagram.

Jessica Guynn with the LA Times reported, “In a letter sent to Zuckerberg on Monday, the groups asked Facebook to be ‘responsive to the rights of Facebook users to control their personal information and to participate in the governance of Facebook.’ European regulators also said Monday that they expect Facebook to give European users the right to accept or reject whether they want to share their personal information with Facebook affiliates such as photo-sharing service Instagram.”

The Telegraph’s Christopher Williams noted, “The new rules, announced last week and due to come into force after a consultation closes on Wednesday, are designed to allow Facebook to blend details of members activities with personal data from Instagram, the popular photo-sharing app it acquired earlier this year. The resulting single profiles of people across multiple services could result in more accurate targeted advertising.”

PCWorld’s Ian Paul observed, “Facebook was lauded for its decision in 2009 to introduce site governance voting, but the right to vote on policy changes has been largely ignored by the majority of Facebook’s members. The most recent vote was in June when 0.1 percent of Facebook’s then more than 900 million users bothered to vote on a set of proposed privacy policy changes.”

And CNN’s John D. Sutter wrote, “Facebook will hold a vote, possibly later this week, in which it will ask users to abolish their right to vote on changes to the social network’s privacy policies. The social network announced last week that it was seeking comments on its proposal to take away its users’ right to vote on these sorts of changes. If 7,000 comments are received by Wednesday then Facebook, by its own rules, will hold a referendum on the topic. That threshold appears to have been met — as of Monday morning, there were more than 12,000 comments on Facebook’s English-language post — which should trigger the third vote in the social network’s history.”

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