Tuesday, September 3, 2013

An Important Update on Facebook Privacy

I have never been a particular fan of Facebook. They do not respect privacy and they allow politics to interfere in the social networking sphere and there is no place for this in their reality.. They are allowed to do things with information that you are not allowed to do…adding to my disdain for them. True, they have SOME usefulness and hence, Facebook must be tolerated to some degree. You have all seen the Facebook ads that show us an image of one of our friends and notify us that this particular friend likes some particular brand or product.  However, were you aware that these images could not only be used to endorse products that you have already “liked,” but also those that have nothing whatsoever to do with you AND without your providing any permission other than simply using Facebook?

Facebook recently settled a class action lawsuit regarding this practice. The settlement and resulting privacy-policy “clarifications” actually just make the practice legitimate. According to Facebook’s revised privacy policy, “you give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content…served or enhanced by us…without any compensation to you.” WHAT????? This means Facebook can use your images basically anywhere, at any time, and for any reason.
The class-action lawsuit was brought by a man whose wife’s image was used in this manner to advertise a “hot singles” service, but despite the fact that Facebook ultimately settled, the judge who approved the settlement even said that “it is far from clear [that the plaintiffs] could ever have shown they were actually harmed in any meaningful way.” The only way to opt out of this term of use is to quit Facebook completely. Facebook has also received criticism lately for another relatively new feature that takes facial recognition to a new level in order to suggest tagging options for pictures. Not to mention that htis comes from a paragon of privacy protection, ABC News LOL Be forewarned!!!
Paddy Deighan J.D. Ph.D


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