MENLO PARK (AP) — Facebook is prohibiting developers from using the massive amount of data it collects on users for surveillance. This includes using such data to monitor activists and protesters.
The company said Monday that it is making an existing policy “explicit.” Facebook says it has already taken action against developers who created or marketed tools meant to be used for surveillance.
The announcement was posted on a Facebook Privacy page:
Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.” Our goal is to make our policy explicit. Over the past several months we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of our existing policies; we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.
We’re grateful for community leaders like the American Civil Liberties Union of California, Color of Change, and the Center for Media Justice, who worked with us for the past several months on this update and have helped bring public attention to this important issue while advocating for positive change. .
Last fall, the American Civil Liberties Union obtained records that Facebook and its Instagram service provided user data access to Geofeedia, which develops a monitoring product marketed to law enforcement. The ACLU said at the time that while both Instagram and Facebook cut off access after finding out about this, Facebook did not have a “public policy specifically prohibiting developers” from taking user data for surveillance.
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