April 27th, 2010
10:50 AM ET
13 years ago

First on the Ticker: Facebook reacts to senators concerns

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/27/art.face.cnn.jpg caption="Facebook is responding to criticisms from senators over privacy."]Washington (CNN) – Facebook is defending its privacy policies Tuesday, ahead of a Senate Democratic press conference taking aim at the popular social networking website.

Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Al Franken of Minnesota sent a letter to Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier Tuesday to voice their concerns over the site's recent changes with regards to third-party sharing of user's information.

In a letter to the senators, Elliot Schrage, the vice president of global communications for Facebook, said the new changes allow for enhanced personalization and social activity while providing users with the ability to limit who is able to view their information.

The senators have asked the Federal Trade Commission to look into the privacy disclosures to ensure users are fully aware of the information they are making available to others.

Filed under: Facebook
soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. j russ

    social networking website.................and you expect privacy?

    April 27, 2010 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  2. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    And Shame on CNN for forcing readers to be members of facebook to comment on news reports here on CNN.COM. Since Sunday I can no longer make comments because I'm not a facebook user.
    I'm over forty years old the last thing my children need is the old man hanging around facebook, and the last thing I need is facebook taking my personnel information and selling it to every Tom, Dick and Harry to flood my e-mail with spam.

    April 27, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. mari57

    I am glad the senators have stepped in. This was a naive yet underhanded attempt on the part of Facebook to undermine its users' privacy. It's called instant gratification without regard for ramifications.

    The option should be to opt-in, not to opt out. This is very important since most people are not aware of the changes to the privacy settings nor their wide scope. I attribute this colossal blunder to the youth and inexperience of the company's young CEO and staff. With age comes wisdom.

    April 27, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  4. rdepontb

    It almost seems as if it's up to each site to determine how stealthily or not they choose to make the Facebook link for their users.

    AOL, for example, puts it right up front, and does a nice job of describing what the situation is. Other sites just say, "Join us through Facebook!!" as if it's a big fun and games-only affair. The uninitiated will click on the link, and forever be bombarded–as will their unsuspecting "Facebook Friends" who all of a sudden see what their pal is buying, listening to, eating, etc.

    Not a perfect job at all, Facebook. You could have used more Apple-like discretion on this one before letting the cat out of the bag.

    April 27, 2010 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. Max In NY

    Facebook is out of control with privacy issues. Its really one of two options: you share nothing, or you share everything...there is really no in between.

    My 64 year second cousin, who is completely computer illiterate (no joke, she can barely turn on her computer), was able to follow things I was posting that she deemed inappropriate, and had a discussion with me about it. It was at that point I realized how out of control the privacy on facebook is.

    April 27, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  6. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Look out People Of America if FaceBook start sharing your imformation to third-party or allow for enhanced personalization and social activity while providing users with the ability to limit who is able to view their information.

    April 27, 2010 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Dee

    if facebook wanted to enhance my user experience they should let the user decide for themselves, as opposed to making those of us who dont want to shar everything with the world jump through hoops to limit the information- and honestly I'm not sure if I put a stop to it or not. They need to re think this policy.

    April 27, 2010 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  8. glynes

    I believe their first concern should be for our privacy. We should be given the opportunity to "opt in", not forced to "opt out". Now, the ability to opt out isn't even available from my FB account. I spent nearly half an hour hunting down all the obscure pages I had to visit to block applications and sites from taking my information (and I had to get the directions for doing so from a non-FB site). I have no idea if I found all of them, or how I'll find out when new ones are added. I'm enjoying Facebook as a way to keep in touch with friends, but I'm seriously considering deactivating my account over this issue.

    April 27, 2010 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  9. Byrd

    I left Facebook for these exact reasons. Once your data is posted on Facebook you essentially lose all control, subject the the whims and changes Facebook decides to implement. Other sites, CNN included, are now in collusion with Facebook to force people to open an FB account if you wish to respond to various reader forums, making your preferences and responses available, without your consent, to third parties. Personally, I've dumped Facebook and recommend that others do the same. Keep the email adrresses you've exchanged, but dump Facebook. Your life will be much happier once you do.

    April 27, 2010 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. johnnyhouse

    Any idiot that thinks anything is private on a computer is just that. Nothing ever leaves the internet, your computer or printer. Just because you hit a delete button means nothing ,except that you do not have to look at it anymore. Your government, law enforcement ,fed ,local or whatever can access any records on any piece of equipment you own.There is no right to privacy. Information can be had by just asking the LIberal judges . Your telephone is not private. We have given up these rights for the convenience and access to the internet. Nothing leaves that hard drive.Why do you think that computer of yours keeps getting slower? You eat slower the fuller you get don't you? Any web site on the internet can be shut down when and if the authorities get tired of watching it.

    April 27, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  11. Terry From West Texas

    It is pointless to ask a corporation to reduce its profits just to protect their customers. From the corporate point of view, that would be insane. Either regulate them or let them do what they want. Suggesting that they become better citizens would be an incomprehensible request to a corporate executive.

    As an executive for a major airlines remarked recently, "We have learned that good customer service does not always produce higher profits."

    Analyze that sentence for a moment and you'll see what he was saying: "We have learned that bad customer service sometimes produces higher profits."

    April 27, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. danny

    This article sucks! It doesn't say what they changes were to FB? Perhaps CNN should make some changes, in their staff. Idiot

    April 27, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  13. demmie

    Is anyone else getting annoyed at senators sticking their noses into EVERYTHING?

    Facebook is a private company – users of facebook are voluntary and do not pay for the service. Why are senators even getting invovled?

    April 27, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. MARCIA

    Facebook has no business sharing their subscribers infomation with anyone,unless given permission. The senator is correct in his admonishment!

    April 27, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. t22

    Of course lost completely on these Senators is the fact that nobody is forced to use Facebook.

    April 27, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  16. cindy

    I'm a Facebook user, and I believe the majority of the people on facebook would say there have been so many changes people are upset about this. I'm upset about the changes in the privacy issues, I don't want my information to go all over the place. I also don't think it's the business of other people where we go on Facebook. Facebook needs to stop this.

    April 27, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. Dave

    "In a letter to the senators, Elliot Schrage, the vice president of global communications for Facebook, said the new changes allow for enhanced personalization and social activity while providing users with the ability to limit who is able to view their information."

    Well, that's all well and good but the issue some are raising is that this should be an opt-in enhancement not an opt-out one.

    April 27, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. james

    Personal opinion – privacy issues are a problem, but Facebook is not responsible, nor should any regulatory agencies be compelled to waste resources.

    First issue – grown men and women are idiots with respect to their personal information. Everyone knows the rule, but most fail to respect it. "Once you upload information, consider it public. You can't take it back"

    Second issue – parents have abdicated personal responsibility for their children's actions and safety, especially with respect to new technologies which they have been too busy or too lazy to learn and understand.

    April 27, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. mirza

    i can not believe that above all others issues they are tackeling FB, this is ridiculous.

    April 27, 2010 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  20. Tami in CO

    Get over it already. The US Government, be they Republican or Democrat, seem to think that the average American cannot think for themselves and are incapable of managing their own safety. Get over it already. Quit poking into every single aspect of our personal lives and run the country. Oh that's right. I forgot. Neither party knows how

    April 27, 2010 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Monrob

    I canceled my account this morning.

    April 27, 2010 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. stormerF

    Why would we want the Government looking over our shoulder at what we want to post on facebook? It is not their place to say someone posts or does not post and who reads it.,... What have we become a bunch of babies who need big brother to take care of us? We are responsible for what we post and need to accept responsibility for our actions.We do not need the Government to watch over our every action,this is getting to be too much intervention.

    April 27, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  23. Crazy Harry

    Aren't there more pressing problems in our country than Facebook? If people don't like the rules there, they should delete their account.

    This is a perfect example of government intervention in the wrong place.

    April 27, 2010 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |