Facebook Inc (FB) Once Again Under Scrutiny: Here’s Why

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s privacy policy once again made headlines this week. Following a court order, the social media behemoth issued its new privacy policy last week. On Wednesday, a group of six consumer privacy groups warned the Federal Trade Commission about the risks involved in allowing the firm to adopt new language in its policy.

Apparently, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is seeking to make indiscriminate use of user data for advertising purposes.

From the new policy statement:

“You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content.”

Users under 18 years of age would not be excluded from the commercial use of their information, since parents have “agreed to the terms and conditions” of signing up for the popular social media website, on their behalf.

The consumer groups that issued the complaint letter this week claim that the new policy clearly violates the court settlement from 2011.
According to the resolution, disclosure of user information to third parties is not one of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s prerogatives. Nevertheless, the language in the new policy suggests exactly the opposite, causing the outrage of privacy law advocates and consumer protection groups. And this comes as quite a surprise, since the language in the old privacy policy statement, gave users the explicit right to control their information and determine if (and in which way), it was going to be used for advertising.
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)
According to Debbie Frost, a company spokeswoman: “We have not changed our ads practices or policies — we only made things clearer for people who use our service.” Nonetheless, Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) users were outraged and made their claims heard on the official page. The FTC, however, is not bound to act based on the letter sent to them by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Watchdog, Patient Privacy Rights, U.S. PIRG, and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The Commission will surely review Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB)’s compliance with current privacy norms, yet it will not interfere with their privacy policy in any drastic way.

Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) might not have suffered any financial loss from the concerns raised by privacy groups, yet their reputation is bound to suffer amongst users after repeatedly failing to secure their information.

Disclosure: Pablo Erbar holds no position in any stocks mentioned