Two watchdog groups are so concerned about recent privacy and support changes proposed for Facebook that they have addressed a personal appeal to CEO Mark Zuckerberg in hopes of preventing them.
Facebook announced the major modifications through a blog post last week and the letter from the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy soon followed.
EPIC and the CDD cite three major concerns: ending a site governance system that allows Facebook’s one billion users a voice in changes to the site, eliminating a messages mechanism, and the way Facebook wants to aggregate personal information from other platforms.
“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,” says the letter to Zuckerberg.
The current site governance system allows for a user vote when more than 7,000 comments are received on a blog post regarding a proposed changed; if 30 percent of users then oppose the change in a site-wide poll, the change would not be implemented. The concern, according to the letter to Zuckerberg, is the loss of transparency and openness when changes to the site are implemented.
The third concern relates to the collection of personal data.
“We may share information we receive with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Facebook is part of,” Facebook’s recent blog post said, “or that become part of that group (often these companies are called affiliates). Likewise, our affiliates may share information with us as well.”
EPIC and the CDD claim the proposed changes jeopardize user privacy and the terms of a recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission, settled in August, that alleged Facebook publicly exposed private user information.
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