Facebook’s Eroding Privacy Policy, Visualized

Much has been said about Facebook’s new personalization features, the growing privacy concerns of its users – and the social network’s apparent oblivion to them.

I came across an interesting post by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a digital rights advocacy group, which highlighted excerpts of Facebook’s privacy policy over five years to “illustrate Facebook’s shift away from privacy.”

Curious, I created word clouds of Facebook’s 2005 policy excerpt and its current version.

Facebook Privacy Policy (2005): Facebook Privacy Policy (2010):

The contrast is stark.

As Kurt Opsahl, Senior Staff Attorney with EFF, puts it:

“Facebook originally earned its core base of users by offering them simple and powerful controls over their personal information. As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those controls. Instead, it’s slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users’ information, while limiting the users’ options to control their own information.”

Privacy pullback

When users are left with little or no control over their personal data — and settings go from “user specified” to “everyone,” members are bound to feel betrayed.

Facebook’s repeated bait and switch tactics have left thousands outraged. The latest changes have even sparked Congressional objections with Senators Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mark Begich (D-AK), and Al Franken (D-MN) writing a letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking Facebook to “stand by its goal of creating open and transparent communities by working to ensure that its policies protect the sensitive personal biographical data of its users and provide them with full control over their personal information.”

Will the social network comply or has Facebook really turned evil?

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by s on July 18, 2011 at 8:04 am

    Happy Birthday!!!
    Forever yours

  2. Posted by Aditya Bhatnagar on October 14, 2011 at 8:08 am

    Monster’s latest app. BeKnown is a great addition to the social networking world of Facebook. From a career & professional perspective it really helps you manage your connection as well segregate them from your remaining social circles.

    Check it out here: http://bit.ly/qZgaOJ

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