* Posts by Sophy Silver

5 posts • joined 4 Oct 2010

Facebook is 'killing privacy for commercial gain'

Sophy Silver

Response from Facebook

Bruce Schneier raises some concerns about how Facebook works with advertisers and what it does with people’s data. These concerns are based on some misconceptions so we wanted to clarify the facts for you.

Advertising is Facebook’s business model but nothing is more important to us than user experience, safety and enjoyment. We never share personally identifiable information with advertisers nor do we sell personal information to anyone. Advertisers only ever see annonymised and aggregated data. Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook’s COO, explains how advertising works in relation to privacy here: http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=403570307130

Users control and own all of their data on Facebook and this is clearly set out in our terms: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php. Users control when to add information to Facebook, when to change it and when to take it down. This is not affected by any third party. To find out what other people can see about you on Facebook then click “Preview my profile”.

You can visit our Help centre (http://www.facebook.com/help/), Safety Centre (http://www.facebook.com/help/?safety) and Guide to privacy (http://www.facebook.com/privacy/explanation.php) to find out more about safety, privacy and security on Facebook.

Sophy Silver, Facebook’s press office

MoD labels Facebook Places a 'targeting pack' for terrorists

Sophy Silver

Response from Facebook

You must actively check in or allow your friends to check you in before you share your location. It does not update your location without you having first done this.

Sophy Silver

Response from Facebook

Places are public spaces. The scenario you’ve described is really no different to what someone could have posted on Facebook or elsewhere online before Places was launched. Whether you are talking about relationships online or offline you should be conscious of how trustworthy your friends and their connections are – particularly if you are working in a sensitive line of work.

Sophy Silver

Response from Facebook

Facebook is a free service and something that many people find adds value to their day-to-day lives. As with any service, users do need to invest some time in order to use it properly. With the introduction of master sharing controls in May this year Facebook has have made it very simple for users to set all their settings to one option that suits them using one click. With Places, we realise location is a sensitive area so we went even further to help people control their privacy by defaulting sharing to friends only by default – the most conservative of all location services. Users also get clear pop up disclosures and notifications the first time they check in or a friend asks to check them in with a clear ‘learn more’ section, as well as notifications every time they are checked in after they have agree to use the product. We also created simple guides and videos to help educate users on how to use the product as referenced in the original comment.

Sophy Silver

Official Facebook response

As with a lot of new technologies, there has been confusion about how Places works and this is reflected in the article.

For Facebook Places to act as a 'targeting pack for terrorists', MoD personnel would need to actually be friends with the terrorist, as the privacy settings are set to Friends Only by default.

Places users have complete control; before your location is shared you have to actively check in somewhere, or allow your friends to check you in. You can’t be checked in unless you agree to be. We fully support organisations who want to educate their employees about how to use the internet and social networking sites, including Facebook. Whilst there were a few inaccuracies in the MoD guide, such as the claim that Facebook Places is automatically on until it is deactivated, they are clearly not 'labelling' Places as a 'targeting pack for terrorists'. The MoD is, like any responsible organisation, simply providing guidance on how to use these services appropriately.

Places also does not share your location details with third party websites or applications 'by default'. Every time an application needs to access your data - to make it work and give you a better user experience - it must provide a clear set of instructions so you can easily see what information is needed before you accept, just as it would if it wanted to access your photos or friend lists.

For people interested in how privacy on Places actually works, you can see a quick video on how to control your sharing through Places here: http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=10150257497405484&ref=mf#!/video/video.php?v=697692691093

If you want to find out more, visit: http://www.facebook.com/places/

Sophy Silver, Head of PR & Communications, Facebook

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