Facebook has more than once been accused of privacy missteps, but now the social network is trying to turn around that image by partnering with the National Association of Attorneys General for a new online safety campaign.
Designed to help teens and parents manage their privacy and visibility on Facebook and the Internet, the campaign was announced this morning during the NAAG's presidential summit on privacy in National Harbor, Md.
The centerpiece of the campaign will be 19 state-specific public service announcements featuring Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg and the attorneys general. Facebook also created a video series that addresses the most commonly asked questions about how to safely use Facebook. The PSA, video and a privacy tip sheet are available on a Facebook page and on participating attorneys general Facebook pages and office websites.
"Teenagers and adults should know there are tools to help protect their online privacy when they go on Facebook and other digital platforms," said Maryland attorney general Douglas Gansler and president of the NAAG.
While the federal government has moved deliberately on privacy legislation, states have been more nimble. California, for example, has led the way on state privacy laws with its Online Privacy Protection Act. Most recently the state is considering a new law called the Right to Know Act, which would require companies to give users access to their personal data.
"State laws need to be updated to reflect our modern era in which the very nature of privacy and personal information is changing," Gansler said in a statement. "Attorneys general have before us an extraordinary opportunity to reorient our enforcement and advocacy efforts toward the unique privacy challenges posed by the digital economy."
Privacy hawks were skeptical of the new alliance and disappointed that Maryland decided to go the PR route rather than following in California's footsteps. "Maryland ag Doug Gansler appears to be more interested in friending Mark Zuckerberg than working to protect teen privacy on Facebook. Facebook's practices regarding teens, especially its data collection and ad targeting, require an investigation, not just some glossy educational videos and tip sheets," said Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy.