The Federal Trade Commission has received a joint complaint from ten privacy groups over recent changes to Facebook’s set-up. But the site says it already cleared the changes with the FTC before making them.
The groups, led by the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), claim the changes “violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook’s own representations.”
The main changes covered by the complaint (PDF link) are that Facebook now recommends users make more of the information publicly available, which could include appearing in search engine results. However, users still have the option to ignore this recommendation.
In my view, the groups are doing themselves a disservice: by going so hard after these changes, they undermine more serious complaints elsewhere. Facebook does give users extensive control over their detailed privacy settings. The complaint seems to be about the fact that many options are set to public view by default (but can be made private). That doesn’t seem like an issue for regulators, whose role is to say what firms must do, not what they should do.