Facebook has been hoping that the new privacy changes would just blow over. Unfortunately for Facbeook, a group of ten privacy and consumer groups announced today that they have filed a complaint with the FTC, alleging that the the privacy-policy changes violate federal law. The group is “urging the FTP ‘to open an investigation into the recent changes made by Facebook … and to require Facebook to restore privacy safeguards.'”
The privacy “fiasco” centers around Facebook’s new transition tool which encourages users to open up their profile so that more data is publicly available. Facebook has been fighting against negative press, even blocking some articles that aggressively condemn Facebook’s new privacy changes. Winning this complaint with the FTC will be critical for Facebook not only from a public relations position but from an overall strategic position.
At All Facebook we have been covering the ongoing changes and while Facebook has been making changes which appear to cater to user demands, it’s clear that the new privacy changes have left more than a few users bitter. We’ve even received numerous emails from users who claim to be closing their accounts as a result of the new changes. It will be interesting to see how this new issue with the FTC unfolds as it’s critical to Facebook’s ongoing Twitterfication.
Andrew Noyes of Facebook told MarketWatch that “We’ve had productive discussions with dozens of organizations around the world about the recent changes, and we’re disappointed that EPIC has chosen to share their concerns with the FTC while refusing to talk to us about them.” This could end up being a massive strategic blow to Facebook if the FTC rules against them. For now we’ll have to watch as this story unfolds.
A copy of the complaint has been embedded below, as posted by Peter Kafka.
Facebook has sent us their full statement regarding the FTC complaint:
“We’ve had productive discussions with dozens of organizations around the world about the recent changes and we’re disappointed that EPIC has chosen to share their concerns with the FTC while refusing to talk to us about them.
We’re pleased that so many users have already gone through the process of reviewing and updating their privacy settings and are impressed that so many have chosen to customize their settings, demonstrating the effectiveness of Facebook’s user empowerment and transparency efforts. Of course, the new tools offer users the opportunity to decide on privacy with every photo, link or status update they wish to post, so the process of personalizing privacy on Facebook will continue.
We discussed the privacy program with many regulators, including the FTC, prior to launch and expect to continue to work with them in the future.”