There’s been a long-time debate going on about whether Facebook has infringed on our privacy or not. On the one hand, they’ve been a little sketchy about what information is going to be protected and what information they’re going to share – with or without your consent. On the other hand, we have willingly showed the conglomerate time and time again that no matter how infuriated we get over these so-called ‘privacy breaches’ that we will continue to use the website to engage in social media. This begs the question as to if we have given up our privacy rights or not – it’s a little hypocritical to feign being mad and yet continue to use the offending website on a daily basis.
Well the privacy debate just went one step further and now the Federal Trade Commission has made its mark on the social media monster. In a controversial move Facebook and the Federal Trade Commission enacted an agreement saying that over the next 20 years Facebook will only share information that it has been given consent to share from users. Shouldn’t that have been the way it operated in the first place though?
“When I built the first version of Facebook, almost nobody I knew wanted a public page on the internet. That seemed scary. But as long as they could make their page private, they felt safe sharing with their friends online. Control was key,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a blog post responding to the privacy debate.
The new privacy standards, as outlined on the FTC website, maintains that Facebook will be:
- barred from making misrepresentations about the privacy or security of consumers’ personal information;
- required to obtain consumers’ affirmative express consent before enacting changes that override their privacy preferences;
- required to prevent anyone from accessing a user’s material more than 30 days after the user has deleted his or her account;
- required to establish and maintain a comprehensive privacy program designed to address privacy risks associated with the development and management of new and existing products and services, and to protect the privacy and confidentiality of consumers’ information; and
- required, within 180 days, and every two years after that for the next 20 years, to obtain independent, third-party audits certifying that it has a privacy program in place that meets or exceeds the requirements of the FTC order, and to ensure that the privacy of consumers’ information is protected.
“Facebook is obligated to keep the promises about privacy that it makes to its hundreds of millions of users. Facebook’s innovation does not have to come at the expense of consumer privacy. The FTC action will ensure it will not, “Chairman of the FTC Jon Leibowitz said in an explanation of the new restrictions.
The new restrictions have been met with mixed feelings and with good reason – it’s unlikely that Facebook will be the same with these new impositions. However, whether the outcome will result in a better or worse Facebook has yet to unfold.
Melanie Slaugh is enthusiastic about the growing prospects and opportunities of various industries and writing articles on various consumer goods and services as a freelance writer. She writes extensively for internet service providers and also topics related to internet service providers in my area for presenting the consumers, the information they need to choose the right Internet package for them. She can be reached at slaugh.slaugh907 @ gmail.com.
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