If you haven't been timelined yet, you eventually will be! Why can't Facebook let its users choose their page layout? Why is Timeline enforced on hundreds of millions of users? What is Timeline -- a perfect way to present one's biography or a way to get to know the dirty laundry of someone who hasn't cleaned his/her page yet? Does Facebook violate people's privacy, and should anyone who chooses to register on the website put up with any Facebook's initiative? CT-ing with Roman Karachinsky, Anita Ramasastry and Terry Carney.
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Facebook recently announced changes to its "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities." The most-discussed change involves Facebook app access to user data; although Facebook's practices have not changed, the company now states that a user's information is disclosed to apps used by that person's Facebook friends. Facebook also allows user-downloaded software or plugins to automatically download updates, upgrades, and additional features, and prohibits users from tagging others who do not wish to be tagged.
Allowing apps to access the personal information of a Facebook user's friends raises questions about Facebook's compliance with a 2011 settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, in which the agency found that Facebook "deceived consumers by telling them they could keep their information on Facebook private, and then repeatedly allowing it to be shared and made public." In particular, the FTC found that Facebook had misled users about the extent to which their personal information would be made available to their friends' Facebook apps.
The settlement, which follows from complaints filed by EPIC and other consumer and privacy organizations in 2009 and 2010, bars Facebook from changing privacy settings without users' affirmative consent, or misrepresenting the privacy or security of users' personal information.
In comments filed with the FTC, EPIC said that the existing settlement is "insufficient to address the concerns originally identified by EPIC and the consumer coalition, as well as those findings established by the Commission."
The new Facebook app access provisions also raise doubts about the effectiveness of Facebook's privacy settings. Facebook's "How People Bring Your Info To Apps They Use" privacy setting allows users to or to turn off Platform Apps altogether if they don't use any Apps themselves. Facebook's terms do not include any reference to those settings, thus leaving users without necessary information about the interaction between the privacy settings and the Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
The changes were open for public comment until March 23. Facebook received 526 comments, which it plans to review in the coming weeks.
Facebook: Statement of Rights and Responsibilities
FTC: Facebook Settlement
EPIC: In re Facebookpdf (Dec. 17, 2009)
EPIC: In re Facebook 2pdf (May 5, 2010)
EPIC: Comments to FTC on Facebook Settlement(Dec. 27, 2011)
EPIC: Facebook Privacy
EPIC: Facebook Settlement
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