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Facebook Policy Update Bans Use of Data for Surveillance

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Facebook has updated its privacy policy to prohibit developers from using the social network’s data for surveillance purposes.

The updated policy, which covers both Facebook and Instagram, prevents developers from using “data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.”

“Our goal is to make our policy explicit,” Facebook wrote in a post. “Over the past several months we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of our existing policies; we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.”

Facebook iconThe move comes in response to feedback from the American Civil Liberties Union of California (ACLU), Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice, all of which asked the social network to crack down on how its data is being used.

It was revealed last October that police services were using data collected by Geofeedia from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to monitor the activities of activists and protesters. The ACLU, which discovered the surveillance, immediately shared its findings with the three social media companies. As a result, Instagram cut off Geofeedia’s access to public user posts and Facebook eliminated its access to a topic-based feed of public user posts.

This week’s policy update builds on those actions.

“We will continue using our policies to support our community,” Facebook said, “and we hope that these efforts will help encourage other companies to take positive steps as well.”

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Jennifer Cowan

Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.