Europe Vs Facebook is the name of a website aiming to ‘take on’ Facebook and affect change in the policies of the social network. Of course this is not a stance that reflects the views of all of Europe, or any official bodies, but complaints from the site have led to investigations by the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (in 2011 following 22 complaints from the site after Facebook allegedly refused to reveal the personal data held about those parties). This ultimately resulted in changes taking place that were more in-line with European privacy laws (the site now has an extended download tool for personal data), though the website organizers reportedly do not see these changes as sufficient.
Visiting the ‘Objectives’ page of their site reveals that the movement believes Facebook to lack transparency and states it’s impossible for a user to know what happens to their personal data on Facebook and points out the irony based on the fact that Facebook itself is about ‘transparency’. Meanwhile the site also wants an ‘opt-in’ rather than ‘opt-out’ for new features introduced, and a policy that avoids information being uploaded about other users – including the use of tagging. There is an argument that there is a breach of privacy applying to ‘non-members’ of Facebook which in turn negates the common answer that ‘you shouldn’t join Facebook if you don’t want to share your data’.
Recently the movement has released a sister site ‘our-policy.org’ which aims to send suggested improvements to the Facebook policy. When the group’s Facebook page (ironic too…) reached 7,000 comments, Facebook held a worldwide vote on the changes that were being proposed but poor promotion led to only a 0.038% participation of which 87% voted against Facebook’s changes.
While there are certainly issues to consider regarding the privacy on Facebook, the beach of privacy for non-users is realistically very minimal, and even without Facebook there will always be a chance of our pictures and names ending up on Facebook – most users would probably agree that this is not worth losing the tagging feature over. For all the other complaints, there remains the option to not join Facebook in the first place.
What do you think?
This post was written by admin on July 2012