The Data Protection Working Party, which advises the Commission on data and privacy issues, wrote a letter to Facebook, saying recent changes that made previously private information publicly viewable by default were “unacceptable”.
In the letter, the group said that profile information, and data about the connections between users, should have a default setting in which this information was only shared with “self-selected” contacts.
Nice name for a “party” by the way. What’s their logo? A sickle, hammer and a router? So now the data police in the EU are using the “u” word to strike at Facebook. No doubt there are some dimly lit and smoky backroom meetings that are taking place to fully understand Facebook’s role in Greece’s economic meltdown. After all, if there is a problem in the world, Facebook must be the root cause ;-).
At this point there really is nothing else to say about this fiasco is there? Michael Arrington is trying to call off the dogs regarding their attacks on the industry’s favorite person to pummel, Mark Zuckerberg. Accounts are being closed. Maybe Facebook could go to some journalistic governing body and get a press bail out?
Facebook apparently has responded but anything they say now makes them look tired and getting weaker.
Facebook, which has 400 million users around the world, responded to the European Union’s concerns, saying that it provided extensive tools for users to protect their profiles and choose what information they shared with friends.
“We already enable users to exclude themselves from being indexed by search engines, and recently introduced granular data permissions for applications,” said Facebook in a statement. “We are happy to continue working with the Data Protection Working Party.”
Translation: We’ve heard it all. What else can we say? We are not as evil as you think and we have done virtually everything we can to give our users the means to protect their privacy.
Of course, they didn’t mention the confusion they have created and the reality that most aren’t talking about which is that the vast majority of Facebook users aren’t reading Marketing Pilgrim, TechCrunch and the kinds of press that is currently having a field day with this train wreck.
Until everyone is officially notified with a permanent box at the top of every Facebook page stating that you should adjust your privacy settings by clicking here there will be complaints. Heck, even that won’t be enough to shut everyone up but it could go a long way toward it.
So, good luck Facebook and have a nice private weekend!