Facebook faces fresh trouble over privacy concerns

Reports said that Facebook is still sharing personal information with outsiders.

Last Updated: May 22, 2010, 11:41 AM IST

Toronto: With millions of users worldwide quitting Facebook to protest its privacy policies, the social networking web site faces fresh legal trouble in Canada which was instrumental in forcing it to implement new privacy safeguards last year.

Facebook users` fury has been fuelled by reports that the web site is still sharing personal information with outsiders, including companies that make Facebook applications such as games and quizzes.

There are about 400 million users of Facebook worldwide. But millions have deleted their accounts in recent weeks. As Google Canada confirmed last week, `delete Facebook` and `deactivate Facebook account` are the major search words for Facebook on its search engine.
As exodus from Facebook continues, reports here Friday said that the Canadian Privacy Commission plans to crack the whip against the social networking web site once again. The web site faces fresh investigations and could possibly be dragged to the country`s highest court. Giving its ruling last August after a complaint by Canadian law students against Facebook for violating the country`s privacy laws, the Privacy Commission of Canada had ordered the social networking site to implement new privacy safeguards worldwide.

Canada`s Privacy Commission said Friday that Facebook could face fresh investigations for violations of its recommendations.

"Although they`ve done some things right, in a few areas, they seem to have gone in the opposite direction, and that`s been disappointing,`` Privacy Commission spokeswoman Anne-Marie Hayden told Canwest News Service.

"We`re waiting for Facebook to honour its commitments, but if we do see new violations of the law, we may launch our own investigation, which could be very narrowly scoped,`` she said.

Facebook could also be taken to court for violations of Canadian-ordained recommendations.

Indicting the networking site last July, the Privacy Commission had ordered it to comply with its recommendations within a month.

Under those broad recommendations, Facebook was not to share personal information with third-party developers - 950,000 in some 180 countries - creating Facebook applications such as games and quizzes.

Facebook was ordered to retrofit its application platform to prevent any application from accessing information without permission from the user.

It was also ordered to give users the option of either deactivating their account or deleting their account. If the account is deleted, personal information will also be deleted. Even during the deactivation process, users will have the option to delete personal information.

IANS