Senator Charles Schumer is upset on your behalf over Facebook’s latest loosening of its privacy policies, and yesterday he called for the FTC to step in and provide some guidance, offering to introduce legislation if the agency feels it needs that extra authority. Specifically, Schumer wants three things: opt-out defaults should be switched to opt-in, sites should always disclose where the information is going, and there should be some general “guidelines for user privacy” that sites follow.
This may sound a little like political grandstanding, but in the letter to the FTC that he released yesterday, he noted that online behavioral advertisers currently follow stricter guidelines than social networking sites:
“While the online behavioral advertising industry has adopted a self-regulatory program created in concert with the FTC, there are no guidelines for user privacy on social networking sites including Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter,” Schumer wrote.
WCBS TV reports that Facebook is “surprised” by Schumer’s call for more guidance, and that it looks forward to “sitting down with him and his staff to clarify.”