Facebook amends privacy policies
- Article by: VINDU GOEL
- New York Times
- November 15, 2013 - 10:03 PM
SAN FRANCISCO – Facebook Inc. pressed ahead Friday with changes to its privacy policies, first proposed in August, that make it clear that users’ postings on the service and other personal data can be used in advertising on the site.
The proposed changes drew an outcry from many users, some privacy groups and members of Congress, and prompted the Federal Trade Commission to scrutinize the company’s plans.
“Your feedback was clear — we can do better — and it led to a number of clarifying edits,” the company wrote in a blog post announcing the final version of the policies, which went into effect immediately.
The edits don’t change what Facebook’s policy is regarding use of teenagers’ or anyone else’s personal information in ads and is unlikely to mollify critics.
All of the changes fit a broader pattern: Facebook is pushing its users to share more data while also making that information more widely available. For example, a post that was made years ago and long forgotten can now be unearthed through Facebook’s graph search tool.
And public comments about, say, a hot television show or the Affordable Care Act could suddenly show up on TV as Facebook works with broadcasters to showcase the conversations that are happening on the service.
Facebook is the world’s largest social network, with 1.2 billion monthly users, and its privacy practices always draw a great deal of attention.
Facebook insisted all along that it was not actually changing any policies but simply clarifying its existing practices.
One of its most important advertising products, called sponsored stories, involves rebroadcasting user posts praising a company’s product to their friends.
So if someone posted “Just had a great seafood feast at Red Lobster” or even just clicked ‘like’ on the chain’s Facebook page, the restaurant company might pay to make sure that endorsement showed up high in the news feeds of that person’s friends.
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