Facebook Updated Its Policies to Remind Developers Not to Use Its Data for Surveillance

Twitter adopted similar measures last November

Facebook took steps to make it clear to developers that data from the social network cannot be used for the purposes of surveillance.

Twitter adopted similar measures last November, with vice president of data strategy Chris Moody reminding developers in a blog post that Twitter’s public application-programming interfaces and data products were not to be used for surveillance purposes by law enforcement or any other entities.

Facebook deputy chief privacy officer Rob Sherman discussed the changes to the social network’s Advertising Policies in a Facebook Privacy post (embedded below):

Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.” Our goal is to make our policy explicit. Over the past several months, we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance in violation of our existing policies. We want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.

We’re grateful for community leaders like the American Civil Liberties Union of California, Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice, who worked with us for the past several months on this update and have helped bring public attention to this important issue while advocating for positive change. For example, ACLU of California will discuss social media surveillance with a panel of experts at the SXSW conference later today.

Color of Change campaign director Brandi Collins told Kate Conger of TechCrunch:

Social media platforms are a powerful tool for black people to draw attention to the injustices our community faces. We commend Facebook and Instagram for this step and call on all companies who claim to value diversity and justice to also stand up and do what’s needed to limit invasive social media surveillance from being used to target black and brown people in low-income communities.

Image courtesy of evtushenko_ira/iStock.