The American Civil Liberties Union and the Bill of Rights Defense Committee have joined the fight for user privacy on Facebook. In September, the Federal Trade Commission was urged by Reps. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) to move forward with investigating the social media company for violating user privacy with browser cookies.
Placing Web cookies that track users' online activity without their permission is becoming increasingly concerning, users say. Even after logging out of their Facebook, some find that the continuous tracking is a threat to their personal security. With what the company is calling frictionless sharing, the upcoming revamp of profile pages is worrying users even more. The new Facebook will authorize users' applications to automatically share their information and display their activity on the profile page.
The controversy over Facebook's changes grows as the issue is brought to federal attention. In addition to the ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and House members pushing for the FTC investigation, eight other U.S. consumer and privacy groups are said to be behind the proposal.
Facebook continues to assert it is collecting user data responsibly and not using people's personal information in any way. Furthermore, Facebook emphasizes that users have the option of controlling their privacy settings and adjusting how much they want to publicly display.
Will the FTC go forward with investigating Facebook? As the issue escalates, only Facebook's changes in the next month will tell us to what degree they value user privacy.