Facebook Takes Step To Prohibit Use of Users Data For Surveillance Tools

It was surprising when reports emerged that Facebook which is one of the largest social network provided feeds of user data to a social media monitoring program which was used by police departments in Oakland, California and Baltimore to track racially charged protests. Facebook was not the only social media network, similar type of data was also provided by Instagram and Twitter.

The details emerged when American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) an organization which has a mission to defend and preserve individual rights published a report on October 11, 2016. The report was published by ACLU had all the proves that these social media companies have provided data to Geofeedia which was later used for surveillance purposes. The ACLU contacted Twitter and Facebook, both the companies immediately restricted Geofeedia’s access to users data.

Facebook Takes Step To Prohibit Use of Users Data For Surveillance Tools

Facebook’s core business is advertising, Facebook also shares public feeds with developers which allows the developers to monitor different trends and public happenings. Geofeedia was also one of those developers which was using the data to create surveillance data to law enforcement agencies.

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Facebook recently updated its privacy policies to avoid any future misuse of its data. According to a the post  published on March 13, 2017 on Facebook’s privacy page, Rob Sherman who is the chief privacy officer of Facebook wrote “Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot ‘use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance”.

The new changes in the privacy policy of the company will ban use of its data for any surveillance tools. These changes came as a result of continuous efforts and support  of ACLU, Color of Change and the Center for Media Justice.