Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rockefeller Pressures Facebook and MySpace

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV, Chairman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today sent letters to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and MySpace President Michael Jones requesting more information about privacy breaches reported in the Wall Street Journal.

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg:

Last week, an article in the Wall Street Journal revealed the apparent widespread practice of Facebook applications (or “apps”) transferring users’ personal information to marketing firms and tracking companies. I found the details of the Journal’s article troubling and write this letter to request further information on Facebook’s enforcement efforts with regard to the company’s Privacy Policy.

Facebook’s Privacy Policy makes clear that apps must not share personal information with outside parties. Section 4 states that when users connect to a Facebook app or website, “it will have access to General Information” about users, which includes “names, profile pictures, gender, user IDs, [and] connections.” The policy also declares: “Prior to allowing [applications and websites] to access any information about you, we require them to agree to terms that limit their use of your information (which you can read about in Section 9 of our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities)”. Next, Section 9 of the referenced Statement of Rights and Responsibilities states the requirements and obligations by which “Developers/Operators of Applications and Websites” must abide.

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