After heavy criticism from users and privacy watchdogs, Facebook has delayed the date that controversial policy changes will take effect.
September 6, 2013
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"We are taking the time to ensure that user comments are reviewed and taken into consideration to determine whether further updates are necessary and we expect to finalize the process in the coming week," Facebook said in a statement. Facebook users submitted more than 10,000 comments to the blog post that announced the proposed changes last week.
The revisions to its Statements of Rights and Responsibilities and Data Use Policy clarify that by simply using the social network, users grant Facebook permission to use their name, profile picture, content and information in conjunction with ads and sponsored content without payment. It also explained how the social network uses facial recognition technology to identify you in friends' photos and to suggest they tag you.
[ How can your privacy settings protect you from nosy Facebook searchers? Read Three Facebook Privacy Settings to Check. ]
"We are able to suggest that your friends tag you in a picture by scanning and comparing your friend's pictures to information we've put together from your profile pictures and other photos in which you've been tagged," the policy reads.
Six privacy advocates, who fired off a letter to the Federal Trade Commission late Wednesday, were particularly outraged with Facebook's proposed handling of minors who use its site. According to Facebook's new policy, users under the age of 18 concede that at least one of their parents or legal guardians has also agreed to the terms on their behalf.
"Such 'deemed consent' eviscerates any meaningful limits over the commercial exploitation of the images and names of young Facebook users," the groups wrote. "The amended language involving teens -- far from getting affirmative express consent from a responsible adult -- attempts to 'deem' that teenagers 'represent' that a parent, who has been given no notice, have consented to give up teens' private information. This is contrary to the Order and FTC's recognition that teens are a sensitive group, owed extra privacy protections."
In an emailed statement to InformationWeek, a Facebook spokesperson said that a recent settlement -- in which the social network was forced to pay $20 million to resolve claims that it featured users' images in advertisements without payment or permission -- required the company to more clearly explain its policies and practices.
"We simplified the explanation to make clear how advertising works on Facebook and what exactly people can expect when it comes to how we use their name, profile picture, content and personal information," the statement said. The social network originally pegged September 5 as the day the changes would take effect.
Facebook did not specify a new date for when it will enact the new policy changes but said it will be "in the coming week."
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