It’s Wednesday, June 29, 2022 in Austin, Texas

Group Files Complaint With FTC Against Facebook

The New York Times blog reports on a recent complaint filed with the FTC over recent Facebook Changes:

In a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission on Thursday, a privacy organization is charging that Facebook’s recent changes to its privacy policies constitute “unfair and deceptive trade practices.”

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, or E.P.I.C., says that Facebook’s recent changes “violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook’s own representations.”

Facebook user’s photo, gender, geographic region, the pages they are a fan of and their lists of friends are now open to the entire Web public, and also now searchable via Google.

The complaint alleges that a person’s list of friends constitutes highly sensitive information. It can, for example, reveal a person’s sexual preference, or expose their loved ones to persecution by hostile governments, the complaint says.

Now while I agree with the above criticism on the privacy concerns relating to the publication of friend lists, I'm even MORE concerned with the publication of pages that you are a "fan" of -- this information obviously can communicate personal preferences, likes, dislikes, political affiliations, etc. -- While you might want to share this information with your close friends, you might not want to share this information with the world at large. Any potential employer could "Google" your name and easily find out your political preferences. What if they disagree with those preferences and decide that they don't want to hire you?

Currently Facebook does not give users the ability to turn off publication of this information to the public. I recommend not becoming a "fan" of anything you wouldn't want the entire world to know about.

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