RealTime IT News

Senators call on Facebook to tighten privacy controls

A group of four senators has called on Facebook to reverse a recent set of privacy changes over concerns that users' personal information will be accessible to third parties unless they navigate through what they described as a "complicated and confusing opt-out process."

Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Mark Begich (Alaska), Al Franken (Min.) and Michael Bennett (Col.) have sent a [letter](http://schumer.senate.gov/new_website/record.cfm?id=324226) to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking the company to set the default sharing settings to opt-in and restore the cap of 24 hours limiting the length of time third parties can store users' profile information.

"While Facebook provides a valuable service to users by keeping them connected with friends and family and reconnecting them with long-lost friends and colleagues, the expansion of Facebook -- both in the number of users and applications -- raises new concerns for users who want to maintain control over their information," the senators wrote.

The senators' concerns stem from the [set of changes Facebook rolled out earlier this month](http://www.developer.com/services/article.php/3877906/Facebook-Opens-the-Social-Graph-to-Web-Developers.htm) expanding the connections of its platform across the Web, placing "like" buttons on certain third-party sites such as Pandora and Yelp, giving those partners greater access to information about Facebook users.

In a separate letter, Schumer called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the privacy practices of social networking sites and establish guidelines that would bar sites from disclosing information without a users' expressed permission.