Facebook and its Anti-Surveillance Policy. Recently Facebook has been under a lot of pressure for allowing spy apps use their user’s personal data for their investigations. The American Civil Liberties Union released a report that exposed the fact that Geofeedia used Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to track protesters in Missouri, Ferguson, and Baltimore. They tracked the hashtags associated with the campaign and related activists or unions.
This meant immediate backlash from users, concerned about their security and privacy. Nicole Ozer from ACLU of California said,
We depend on social networks to connect and communicate about the most important issues in our lives and the core political and social issues in our country.
Under this pressure, facebook took notice and has decided to set things right. The deputy chief privacy at Facebook claimed that the company has updated Instagram and Facebook policies in order to prohibit spy app developers from using users’ data.
Even though activist and unions are appreciating this step taken by Facebook, this action has caused mixed reactions when it comes to law enforcement agencies. These agencies used surveillance apps to track down law breakers and used social media as their medium of the investigation.
These newly updated policies cause a hindrance for law enforcement too. However, with all these updates there is still no way to stop an investigation of a suspect through social media. Attorney Timothy Toohey explained,
There’s nothing to stop law enforcement from looking as a suspect’s Facebook feed, but it will stop these intermediary-type companies like Geofeedia from getting automated feeds of information.
Moreover, there are other companies that can aid in surveillance without even using developer’s access. But Facebook’s willingness and capability to stop such breach in privacy can be their key to success. The data security they provide will attract more users and will build trust, though Facebook will have to deal with the countless controversies regarding their new policy.