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November 27, 2012

Privacy groups ask Facebook to withdraw proposed policy changes

Facebook plans to end the user voting system on privacy issues

By CBR Staff Writer

Two internet privacy advocacy watchdogs have urged Facebook to withdraw its proposed changes, which were unveiled last week, about ditching user voting mechanism on privacy issues.

The advocacy groups: Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Center for Digital Democracy, said that the changes will raise privacy risks for users and violate the company’s previous commitments to its one billion customers.

The groups sent a letter to the social network’s chief executive Mark Zucerberg saying "Facebook’s proposed changes implicate the user privacy and terms of a recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission."

In August this year, the Federal Trade Commission has reached the terms its privacy settlement with Facebook which first became public in November 2011.

As per the settlement, Facebook is subject to 20 years of audits and if the social network violates any term in the final FTC settlement it is liable for civil monetary penalties of about $16,000 per violation per day.

In its latest proposed changes, Facebook plans to end the user voting system on privacy issues which enabled users to let go a policy change if it attracted over 7,000 comments and more than 30% of the users participate in a vote on Facebook.

Facebook’s move on privacy issues follows other modifications including a plan to share data with its recently acquired Instagram for $715m.

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As well as Facebook, Google and other online firms have faced increasing scrutiny and enforcement from privacy groups.

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