As previously speculated, the Federal Trade Commission approved Facebook’s $19 billion acquisition of cross-platform messaging service WhatsApp, stressing that WhatsApp must honor its commitment to maintain its pre-Facebook privacy practices.
Calling someone a jerk is rude to start off with, but launching a since-shuttered website that collected personal information from Facebook users was definitely a jerk move in the eyes of the Federal Trade Commission, as CNET reported that the FTC filed a complaint against Jerk.com Monday.
The results should be taken with a grain of salt, as the survey size was only 1,003 people, but a poll conducted by Reason-Rupe found that respondents trusted Facebook with their personal information far less than they trusted the IRS, the National Security Agency, or Google.
The United Nations Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea was highly critical of Facebook in a report, saying that the social network refused its requests for information on the accounts of users suspected of involvement in piracy, and Facebook responded that it was under no legal obligation to comply with those requests.
Facebook’s efforts to ensure that advertising on the social network is unobtrusive and that ads are interesting to users are coming up short, according to the results of the July 2013 American Customer Satisfaction Index E-Business Report, which was released Tuesday in partnership with customer experience analytics firm ForeSee, as 27 percent of respondents said advertising on Facebook interferes with their experience on the site, the highest among social networks.
Application security provider MyPermissions announced the launch of a privacy certification program for app developers, the MyPermissions Trust Certification, which it said is aimed at standardizing the policies and usage of personal information between developers and end-users.
When Facebook announced Home, a heavily integrated mobile platform for Android phones, many people were worried that it represented just another invasion of privacy by the social network. While Facebook will become a bigger part of users’ mobile experiences, the company swears that Home does not take any more information than its native application or the desktop version of the site. Facebook’s Michael Richter (chief privacy officer) and Erin Egan (chief privacy officer of policy) attempted to address users’ concerns in a recent blog post.
Even though Facebook’s privacy settings change often, a study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that more users are becoming better at keeping sensitive information off the social network. According to a study of more than 5,000 Facebook profiles, fewer users are making public information such as date of birth and political affiliation. However, confusion over Facebook’s privacy settings has led to an increase in posting of interests such as favorite movies, books, and music — as well as sharing to applications and advertisers.
Facebook is continually changing its privacy settings, trying to give users more control over what they want to share and with whom. But still, even with the most stringent settings in place, personal information can find a way out. The Wall Street Journal examined how Facebook changed the lives of two gay college students, when a classmate added them to a public group for other gay choir singers at the school — an action that was shared on the students’ news feeds.
A Facebook customer-satisfaction survey appears to be making the rounds, but this one sticks to the user experience, and doesn’t detour into politics, like a similar effort that was released in error last month.