Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Facebook violating privacy

On Facebook? Join our Facebook group:
Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy!
Join the Facebook group

Dear MoveOn Member,

What is Facebook thinking?

They just launched a new experimental program that will share information about you and your friends with selected partners who pay them money. These partners will then get to know all about you and your friends as soon as you go on their sites—whether you meant to give them information or not.1

They're calling it "instant personalization." We're calling it a major violation of your privacy.

Facebook is testing this new scheme with a small group of partners, but they're hoping to expand to more sites. That's more people they can sell your information to. We need to make it clear now that profiting off of our personal information without our permission is not acceptable.

That's why we're taking action now.

Join the Facebook group — "Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy" — and invite your friends to join as well:


We've seen Facebook try to put profits over your privacy before. When Facebook launched an intrusive marketing tool called "Beacon" a few years ago, MoveOn members got together to say that's not the kind of internet we believe in. We launched a petition calling on Facebook to roll back their program then. And we won.2

This fight is about more than just Facebook users. It's about keeping the internet a free and open space in the 21st Century. Like our work on Net Neutrality, there's an important principle at stake here: Will the internet be a place where our basic rights—including privacy—are protected or will corporate interests get to make all the rules?

Facebook claims that you can opt-out of "instant personalization," but they left in a catch. Even if you do, Facebook will still share information about you every time one of your friends visits a partner site.3 The only way to stop that is to go through and block new partner sites every time Facebook adds one. We think there's a better way. Facebook should ask your permission every time it wants to share your information with outside sites.

"Instant personalization" isn't the only change Facebook is proposing that will roll back your privacy.4 They're also moving a lot of your personal information—your hometown, your education, your interests—to public pages, and they're letting other sites put "like" buttons on their pages that will gather more information for Facebook about what you look at on the web. Information about other sites you like will be publicly available too.

That's why we launched this petition today. By fighting back now—and getting lots of people to join the Facebook group and sign the petition—we can send a strong signal to Facebook and other sites that internet privacy must be protected.

Join the Facebook group and invite your friends:


Thanks for all you do.

–Kat, Marika, Ilyse, Milan, and the rest of the team.


1. "How to Opt Out of Facebook's Instant Personalization," The New York Times, April 23, 2010

2. "Facebook Apologizes, Pulls Back on Social Ads," San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 6, 2007

3. "Getting Control of your Facebook Privacy Settings," The Wall Street Journal, April 26, 2010

4. "Facebook's Instant Personalization Is the Real Privacy Hairball," Salon.com, April 22, 2010

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