Facebook Will Take New Privacy Features to Congress on Thursday

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By Eric Eldon Comments

On top of launching what it calls “simplified” privacy features tomorrow, Facebook is planning to take the changes on the road to Washington, DC, where a number of Congresspeople have recently criticized its recent privacy changes.

A Facebook event page says that the company will host a meeting called “Facebook’s New Privacy Controls Hill Briefing,” that is “open to House and Senate staff only” on Thursday at 4:00pm EDT. The blurb from the post:

In Monday’s Washington Post, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg told readers that Facebook has listened to feedback from users, legislators, and consumer groups and will be launching a new suite of simpler and easier-to-use privacy tools. Come learn about what these tools mean for your constituents and the future of sharing online. This briefing will include a Q&A session.

The new privacy tools are in response to massive outcry around the latest changes that the company has made. Those issues, which we’ve detailed elsewhere, include the move to make users’ private profile interest public, features that allow some third parties to access some user data without explicit prior permission, and a host of somewhat-related bugs.

Four US Senators were extremely fast to respond to the changes, with New York’s Charles Schumer first calling for “guidelines to be established for social networking sites, like Facebook, on how information can be shared or disseminated to third parties” on April 25, within a week after the features launched. Politicians don’t usually move to call for regulation so fast, which suggests that interests opposed to Facebook have tight connections to the Congressmen. This move by Facebook to provide a briefing, then, is a way for Facebook get more politicians liking it.