Privacy Groups Ask Facebook to Abort Proposed Changes to Privacy Policy

facebook, thumbs up, thumbs down, social networksOnline privacy groups Electronic Privacy Information Center and Center for Digital Democracy have written a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to abandon proposed changes to the social network’s privacy policies.

Facebook proposed making changes to its privacy policy last week. Users would no longer have the opportunity to vote on proposed changes and privacy practices for Facebook and Instagram would be combined.

Earlier this year, when Facebook received more than 7,000 comments opposing then-proposed changes to its privacy practices, the company complained that the comments were simply cut-and-paste memes and did not constitute meaningful user input.

The voting policy was implemented in response to a Federal Trade Commission investigation.

In their letter, of which they sent copies to FTC members, Marc Rotenberg, president of EPIC and Jeffrey Chester, president of the Center for Digital Democracy, said Facebook was backtracking on former privacy gains.

“Although Facebook’s existing voting mechanism set an unreasonably high participation threshold, scrapping the mechanism altogether raises questions about Facebook’s
willingness to take seriously the participation of Facebook users,” the letter said.

The proposal to combine user profiles from Facebook and Instagram, Rotenberg and Chester warned, may well meet with as much controversy as Google’s similar efforts did last spring. ”

“Facebook’s decision to combine personal information from Facebook and Instagram raises privacy issues. Earlier this year, a similar data consolidation by Google prompted objections from privacy organizations, members of Congress, European data protection authorities, and IT managers in the government and private sectors,” the letter said.

Image: Jandrie Lombard / Shutterstock.com

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