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Facebook reviewing comments on privacy policy change

3/28/2012

On March 15, Facebook began collecting user feedback about proposed changes to its privacy policy via its "Facebook Site Governance" page. When the comment period ended a week later, it had received more than 1,000 responses.

Among the proposed changes, Facebook is considering replacing the term "privacy policy" with "data use policy." Sarah Downey, a lawyer with expertise in privacy matters, told PCWorld this change makes sense, given the nature of Facebook.

"This terminology is more accurate because Facebook has always sought user data and you have very little privacy on the site," Downey said.

Downey was critical of how Facebook applications can access data about users' friends even if the friends themselves have not granted permission for the app to mine their personal information. This was also something commenters on the governance page pointed to as a privacy violation.

Facebook said it will review the comments and keep users informed as to next steps.

Should Facebook change its policy, it would be one of many major websites to do so recently. Google, Pinterest and Tumblr have all released updated privacy policy and terms of use agreements, eliciting different reactions. Google has come under fire for its broad new terms, which facilitate information sharing among its many services. Tumblr was praised for summarizing the main provisions of its TOS in user-friendly language.