Facebook Privacy Policies Draw Criticism by 15 Consumer Groups

May 6, 2010 by Post Team 

Facebook Privacy Policies Draw Criticism by 15 Consumer Groups:May 6 (Bloomberg) – Facebook Inc., the largest social networking site, is facing renewed criticism from consumer groups is not doing enough to protect the information after a security breach exposed private messages between friends.

Recent changes to Facebook “violates user expectations, reduce privacy, and contrary to Facebook‘s own representations,” said Marc Rotenberg, who heads the Electronic Privacy Information Center, one of 15 groups who complained of Facebook in a filing with the Federal Trade Commission late Thursday.

Signatories urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the privacy practices and force Facebook to take steps to better protect against security breaches. The complaint follows an effort spearheaded by New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer last week to reach the FTC to consider how to cope with the social network user data.

Consumer groups intensified criticism from Facebook earlier this month after the company added features that allow users to tell their friends about products and other Web sites of your choice. The program is based on an existing one that lets users click “as” when a friend posts a status update, photo or web link.

While the addition of these tools, Palo Alto, California-based Facebook altered how information from a user profile is classified and disclosed according to the complaint. The result, says EPIC, is that “Facebook now disclose personal information to the public that Facebook users previously restricted.”

Andrew Noyes Facebook spokeswoman said the company could not comment until it had considered the complaint to the FTC. A message left after regular office hours FTC’s office of public affairs was not immediately returned, nor a call to the FTC spokeswoman Claudia Bourne-Farrell.

Turning Off Chat

Earlier, Facebook temporarily closed its “chat” feature after discovering a security flaw that allows users to view messages from friends who were not meant to be shared.

The software error, initially reported by the technology blog TechCrunch, described the chat and friend requests from people within a user’s network when you click an option in the configuration of the site.

“When we received the reports of the problem, our engineers is diagnosed quickly and temporarily disabled the chat function,” said Facebook spokeswoman Malorie Lucich in the statement.

After Schumer’s public statements last week, company officials met with representatives of Sen. and agreed that Facebook users should control public access to personal information and that the company should explain how to achieve that, Elliot Schrage, Facebook vice president of global communications and public policy, said at the time.

- With the help of Ari Levy and Brian Womack in San Francisco. Editors: Tom Giles, Stephen West.

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