TECH

Facebook Delays Controversial Privacy Policy Change

09/06/2013 11:49 am ET
AP

After six privacy groups raised concerns about proposed revisions to Facebook's privacy policy, the world's largest social network said it would hold off on implementing the controversial changes until next week.

"We are taking the time to ensure that people's comments are reviewed and taken into consideration to determine whether further updates are necessary and we expect to finalize the process in the coming week," a Facebook spokesperson told The Huffington Post by email.

Facebook wants to make sure it is not violating an agreement struck two years ago with a federal agency after getting caught using people's faces and names on the site's "Sponsored Stories" feed without permission. The updated policy clarifies that Facebook users automatically consent to having their likenesses used by Facebook -- unless members say otherwise. It's not much different from the old privacy policy, which said members could control how their names and personal data were used in ads on the site.

Privacy advocates allege that the new document still violates the agreement by letting Facebook use personal information in ads without sufficient explicit consent from members. The groups also take issue with Facebook not doing enough to protect teens.

Facebook announced last week that it would update the document that explains to its more than 1 billion members how their names and likenesses will be used on the site. "We have not changed our ads practices or policies – we only made things clearer for people who use our service," a Facebook spokesperson told HuffPost on Thursday.

But after announcing those language tweaks, which we meant to go into effect on Thursday, a cohort of advocacy groups, including the Center for Digital Democracy and Consumer Watchdog, sent an open letter to the Federal Trade Commission, which was behind the 2011 agreement, asking it to stop Facebook.

Facebook said that the timeframe for enacting the changes has nothing to do with the letter. But the executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, one of the groups that signed the letter, disagreed.

"Facebook is being forced to justify its latest grab of user data to D.C. regulators," Jeffrey Chester told The Los Angeles Times.

Earlier on HuffPost:

7 Ways You Might Be Oversharing On Facebook
Suggest a correction
258 Comments

CONVERSATIONS