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Facebook Privacy Issue of Internet Regulators

Facebook's privacy is an issue of Internet regulators. Facebook is the world's largest social networking site and has 400 million users across the globe. Governmental regulators and privacy advocates are closely examining the social network after changes made in December made most users' personal information public. In March, Facebook extended plans to automatically share user information with third-party websites while still allowing users to choose to control public information. Facebook's aim in moving information to a more public audience is to better target users with specific advertisements. Augie Ray, analyst with Forrester Research, maintains that Facebook is "pushing the envelope because it is in their financial best interest to do so" and facing increased regulation from it's biggest clients in the United States and Europe. The Federal Trade Commission is investigating Facebook and other social networking sites through a series of "privacy roundtables" to address the line between personal and public information. Pamela Jones Harbour attended the "roundtables" and stated that: "Protecting consumer privacy is of utmost importance. Unfortunately, many of the companies that consumers look to as leaders, and that we expect to be leaders, still have not taken this message entirely to heart."

President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center Marc Rotenberg insists that "Facebook is just stuck under the privacy microscope. There’s almost nothing the company does at this point that doesn’t raise some privacy concerns. That has not escaped the attention of regulators in both Europe and the US.”

Canada, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and Brussels have already attended to privacy issues by employing strict laws requesting individual consent from users with explicit permission regarding pictures and other information.

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