Facebook Blames Users for Expectation of Privacy

Facebook blames users because we shouldn’t have an expectation of privacy when it comes to Facebook groups (via Gizmodo).

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Health Groups

Yesterday members of Congress asked for a briefing with Facebook because of allegations the company potentially misled users. People were discussing their medical conditions in closed support groups. Facebook blames them because a closed group is different than a secret group, and insurance companies were able to take advantage of the medical stuff they shared.

The part about Facebook blaming users comes from a statement to Gizmodo:

Facebook is not an anonymous platform; real-name identity is at the center of the experience and always has been. It’s intentionally clear to people that when they join any group on Facebook, other members of that group can see that they are a part of that community, and can see the posts they choose to share with that community. There is value in being able to know who you’re having a conversation with in a group, and we look forward to briefing the committee on this.

In an open letter [PDF] to Mark Zuckerberg, Representative Frank Pallone, Jr., chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Jr. and Representative Jan Schakowsky, chair of the Consumer Protection and Commerce Subcommittee, asked questions.

These groups were called closed groups and often had the word “anonymous” in their name, suggesting that information shared within the group and even membership in the group would be private…users of these groups shared deeply personal health information…insurance companies may have used information from these private groups to make decisions about insurance offerings for group members.

The committee demands that Facebook hold a briefing by March 1, 2019.

[Here’s How to Block Facebook Platform Data Sharing]

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W. Abdullah Brooks, MD

Andrew: It’s behaviour such as this that prompted the UK’s parliamentary report to refer to FB as ‘digital gangsters’, a ring that feels entitled to act outside not simply of the norms of society, but the common interpretation of fair play and, indeed, the rule of law. If ever there were an unambiguous and incontrovertible illustration of the need for independent review and approval of a consent contract, as well as external monitoring of that contract’s execution, when dealing with highly personal information that could have a deleterious impact on the consenter’s well-being, safety or even life, as is the… Read more »