Facebook Privacy Battle Heats up

Criticism of Facebook's privacy settings haven't abated—it's only heated up and gone global. European data protection officials have sent a letter to Facebook, saying that "it is unacceptable that the company fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of a user."


The organization demands that users explicitly choose whether search engines can access their info. This harsh criticism is the harshest levied on Facebook from such a significant European agency. Here's the full letter.

Facebook has of course gone to great lengths to demonstrate its commitment to protecting consumer privacy. Today it posted a blog titled "Staying in Control of Your Facebook Logins," to keep your account information secure.

And here's the company's press release about its "Safety Advisory Board" and "Safety Center" from mid-April.

It seems no coincidence that Facebook is also stepping up its campaign on Capitol Hill, launching its "Congress on Facebook" page (Facebook.com/congress). The site lists all 300 plus official pages which members of Congress use to communicate with their constituents. (Facebook points out that it's one of the few sites approved for official use by both the House and the Senate).

Facebook is showing how useful its service is is to elected officials and their constituents—making a point as those very officials perhaps consider concerns about privacy. As there's more outcry for privacy protection, Facebook's probably wise to remind just how useful its service is to those who might evaluate legislation to that end.

Tim Sparapani, Facebook's public policy director saying in a statement: "We're excited showcase some of the most innovative uses of our platform on Capitol Hill. We hope this will encourage even more use of social technologies like Facebook by politicians and government agencies to interact with and serve their constituents."

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