Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Facebook Privacy Change is Subject to FTC Inquiry


2. Right to privacy

3. National level

4. A problem/issue that individuals/families face.

5. Recent change in Facebook company policy will require users, "to grant [Facebook] ... use [of] their personal information in advertising as a condition of using the service". This affects families/individuals in two ways: the first is that Facebook users are effectively surrendering personal information to Facebook and associated third parties, chiefly without their knowledge, and secondly, it calls into question the ethicality of a privately owned business' ability to exploit a customer's right to privacy as a "condition of using the service". This is an ever prevalent ethical dilemma in the digital age, and the FTC's conclusion on Facebook's new policy will create precedence for web-related privacy disputes in the future.

6. Right to privacy has been an issue with a number of other social media platforms, most notably instagram, which, after being purchased by Facebook, briefly operated under the terms that instagram, "has the perpetual right to sell users' photographs without payment or notification". Extreme user backlash lead to an almost immediate revocation of the policy, which appears to be the pattern in cases in which relinquishing privacy and/or ownership is treated as an implied agreement of usage. I feel that a privately owned company has the right to utilize a customer/user's personal information if the customer is 1) aware that their information is being used, 2) aware of how their information is being used and, 3) have agreed explicitly to a new or edited terms of service. While Facebook makes some effort to make users aware of policy change, I don't feel they are going to a great enough extent to inform their users of policy change and I feel it is highly unethical to consider continued usage an agreement to a new or altered terms of service. Overall, I feel it is a company's right to use a customer's personal information, within reason, if the company has gone to length to ensure the customer is aware that they have agreed to this. Facebook has not, in my opinion, gone to length, and the the article would suggest they are even attempting to obscure the tenants of their new policy.

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