June 7th, 2010
03:13 PM ET
12 years ago

California Dems spar over Facebook privacy settings

(CNN) – Facebook's privacy settings have turned into a political talking point in the California Democratic attorney general primary race. After candidate Kamala Harris released two advertisements leading up to Tuesday's primary that attacked Facebook and her opponent Chris Kelly, Facebook's former chief privacy officer, Kelly's campaign says the issue is simply a "distraction."

"His only experience is designing the Facebook privacy policy condemned across the country," says one of the Harris' television ads on Kelly. "Chris Kelly released your private information," the ad also says. The other advertisement showed crooks and strangers walking into a house and upstairs to where a child is surfing online.

The Kelly campaign is calling Harris' criticism unfair. "She is criticizing Chris for something that has happened long after he left the company," Kelly spokeswoman Robin Swanson told CNN. "This is a distraction. She is attempting to use this as a distraction from the very serious problems she has with the San Francisco crime lab and a judge saying she is responsible for it."

But Harris campaign manager Brian Brokaw told CNN there is a "big difference" between the crime lab scandal, which has led to the hundreds of criminal cases being dismissed under Harris' watch, and the questions about Kelly and the Facebook. "Harris is a career prosecutor of a major city. Problems are inevitable and she has taken leadership and worked with the new police chief and proposed that it never happened again. Rather than ignoring the privacy scandals he is responsible for, has denied any responsibility."

According to Kelly's own Facebook page, he was at the social media company from September 2005 to March 2010. Much of Facebook's privacy issues started when the Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint on May 5, 2010.

Kelly has made an issue of Facebook's privacy settings numerous times throughout the primary campaign, most recently in a high profile e-mail to MoveOn.org members.

"I remain troubled by the news that Facebook still plans to offer only an opt-out to 'instant personalization'-meaning that users' information will be shared with third parties without clear consent," Kelly wrote.

Facebook does not comment directly on Kelly, but has responded to the overall concern about its users' privacy by providing a simpler set of privacy controls.

Related: Facebook, facing criticism, ramps up privacy options

Filed under: 2010 • California • Facebook
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    7 Americans died today in Afghan while politicians fight over whose next in line for their precious blood thirsty political career while the rest of us are crying over spilled oil and our precious money.

    June 7, 2010 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  2. Nate from Atlanta

    California Dems need to be "sparring" over the economy.

    June 7, 2010 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Any credibility Kamala Harris had she lost in those ads.
    Chis Kelly has been advertising all over the place for months and frankly i did not know he had opposition based on those ads. He has done exactly what we ask- he spoke about himself.
    Along come the last minute ads with sleazy remarks and incoorect information. If that is who Ms. Harris, then keep he in SF.

    June 7, 2010 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Ready for 2012

    How about we just get rid of Facebook? It's useless.

    June 7, 2010 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  5. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Harris can't control what staff at her does and whether or not they make mistakes. Not buying it Kelly.

    June 7, 2010 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |