Facebook is getting much the same response from European regulators about its latest privacy changes as Google did not long ago on the Buzz controversy. The Register reported Friday the Article 29 Working Party, which consists of privacy chiefs from each of the European Union's member countries, "rebuked" Facebook in a letter recently.
They said, in part:
It is unacceptable that the company fundamentally changed the default settings on its social-networking platform to the detriment of a user.
Of course, Facebook would probably say the changes aren't to the detriment of the user, or, even if they are, that the user consents to them by participating in the Facebook community. Or, if reports from another Register piece are accurate, Mark Zuckerberg might put it a little more bluntly.
The changes make much more user information available to the public, including third-party websites, by default. To make that information available to only a select group, users have to change their privacy settings. The Working Party says the defaults should be on the most conservative setting, so that user information is available only to their Facebook friends unless they explicitly choose otherwise.
Facebook isn't the only social network to which the Working Party has written. Letters went out to 20 different social network providers, the story says.