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Facebook finally, after a slew of privacy changes and amassing a great deal of anger from the users of the social networking site, for changing privacy settings or adding updates to the service without informing them.
What was worse is that some of these changes were automatically switched on, and users had to opt-out of the feature if they did not want it.
But the U.S. Federal Trade Commission is set to agree to new changes whereby Facebook would make these 'opt-in', giving users the choice of whether they want to use the feature or not. Not only will this suit the U.S. FTC, but also other governments around the world, like Germany, which deplored the move when Facebook rolled out facial recognition software.
Once again, Facebook gets itself in trouble with the government. That is never a good sign, and I speak from experience.
And, speaking of government controversy, let's explore the Germany 'facial recognition' saga more closely.
Facebook rolled out a tagging system that would recognise your friends' faces, and tag them on your behalf. A seemingly normal thing, with a touch of possible artificial intelligence, maybe? It seemed cool to some people, but Germany thought it was anything but.
Germany came out and said that Facebook has violated German privacy laws, for scanning the faces of its citizens who use the site, Germany’s top data protection official, Johannes Caspar, wrote to Facebook to demand that its facial recognition software does not infringe German users’ privacy, and to delete any related data.
Germany could impose fines of up to €300,000 ($430,000), but is looking also to sue Facebook to prevent it from doing it in future.
Another Facebook buster from ZDNet's Violet Blue, who reported the state of Facebook's 'pro-rape' culture, where users set up pages and seemingly joke about rape and sexual assault, and the degradation of women.
According to Blue, it took nearly 200,000 signatures on a petition and a Twitter campaign to get the pages removed. Facebook finally caved in.
But why did it take the social network so long to comply with the requests made? Facebook was not even abiding by its own Terms of Service, which expressly forbids this kind of behaviour on the social network.
Not only did it look as though Facebook was endorsing these vile pages based on the fact they still remained, even after a series of calls to remove them, but it just looked like the social network didn't care.