With a new set of default privacy settings rolled out this month, Facebook may or may not have meant to trick its users, as some have charged, into oversharing their personal information. But regardless of Facebook’s intent, the changes have continued to agitate many users.
Today, a group of privacy advocates led by the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. The document claims that Facebook’s new settings expose its members’ info to third parties who were previously blocked from members’ personal information by default.
The complaint says this violates Facebook users’ expectations and contradicts Facebook’s own claims.
A screenshot in the document reminds the FTC that Facebook once had a one-click option labeled, “Do not share any information about me through the Facebook API.” Now, the complaint says, the single button has been replaced with a long list of buttons that, if all used, still do not block some of members’ personal info from being accessed by third parties through Facebook’s API. This includes their name, profile picture, city, and list of friends, among others.
Media pundit Peter Kafka published a long response from Facebook that centers around this claim: “We discussed the privacy program with many regulators, including the FTC, prior to launch.”