Facebook and other social networking companies including its rival Google, are joining forces against a privacy favored bill in California.
The bill, SB 242 or the Social Networking Privacy Act, was introduced in February by California state senator Ellen Corbett. It was revised and subsequently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of three to two this week. The bill would require social networking companies to establish a default privacy setting that bans the display of their personal information without permission.
It would also require privacy language be explained in plain language and would give parents stronger control over kids' profiles and social networking pages. The fine would be $10,000 for each violation.
You shouldn't have to sign in and give up your personal information before you get to the part where you say, 'Please don't share my personal information,' Corbett said.
Facebook is leading a team of social networking operators and host companies including Google, the Internet Alliance, Match.com, Skype, Twitter, Yahoo and Zynga, to try and shoot the bill down. The aforementioned companies sent a letter to Corbett, saying the proposed bill undermines the ability of Californians to make informed and meaningful choices about use of their personal data, and unconstitutionally interfere with the right to free speech
The May 10 version of SB 242 gratuitously singles out social networking sites withoutdemonstration of any harm. There is no indication that California users of socialnetworking sites are less sophisticated or more vulnerable than those Californians whodo not use social networking sites, or that social networking sites are failing toappropriately communicate existing choices to their users, Facebook said in the letter.
The companies say the bill is unnecessary according to recent research. Citing a Pew Internet study, Facebook says two-thirds of users of social networking sites make adjustments to privacy settings (including adjustments toward more visibility and adjustments toward less visibility) already.
Additionally, there is no indication that Californians want to have personal information removed from social networking sites but are unable to. Pew's study found that only eight percent of social networking site users had ever asked that information about posted about them be removed and reported no indication that such requests were being denied in droves, the letter stated.
Both Facebook and Google are headquartered in California.