Facebook page localization requirement raises questions about users’ privacy rights


Facebook’s mandatory requirement to enable location services for users of its corporate Pages service raises the question of users’ right to privacy, with non-compliance preventing people from doing their jobs.

Facebook for Business requires users to enable location services, update their current city and town of origin, and enable two-factor authentication (2FA). The world’s largest social media network says these are necessary for pages with a large audience in order to preserve the credibility of their content and prevent the spread of disinformation.

“Pages allow businesses, causes and communities to connect with their audiences around the world. We want these connections to be genuine, especially on pages with a large audience, ”said a post on the Facebook for Business site.

“If you are managing a page with a large audience, you may be asked to confirm your identity and secure your account through a new page post authorization process,” he added.

The stringent requirements could be a deterrent for users, especially those sensitive to sharing their information, and ultimately affect their reach in key industries, including journalism and community groups, which widely use Facebook as a platform to disseminate. news and information.

Facebook did not respond to multiple requests for comment from The National.

The Facebook for Business page adds that high-reach users can receive a notification and alert banner, indicating that they should go through the process, which will be visible until the authorization process is complete.

“If you don’t complete the authorization by the deadline stated in your initial notification, you will lose the ability to post on the Page,” he said.

The privacy requirements set by internet services have become a major sticking point for users and regulators, who argue that while companies do disclose the purposes of their terms of service, the terms become unclear after pressed the “agree” button, with the scale of what data is collected, used and shared with virtually unknown third parties.

The phenomenon is known as ‘dark data’, which the research firm Gartner defines as “the information assets that organizations collect, process and store in the course of regular business activities, but generally do not use them for other purposes [for example, analytics, business relationships and direct monetising]”.

“Similar to dark matter in physics, dark data often encompasses the universe of most organizations’ information assets. Thus, organizations often keep data dark only for compliance purposes. Storing and securing data entails generally more spending. [and sometimes greater risk] than value. “

User data collected may include personal information such as birthdays and locations with sensitive details such as bank account numbers.

Amita Potnis, head of future of trust research at the International Data Corporation, said it had become “very difficult” to monitor and regulate Facebook’s policies.

“Many questions arise when Facebook asks page owners to identify themselves by providing information about the main country and possibly a photo of the official ID,” she said. The National Thursday.

Among those questions, Potnis said, is how Facebook validates the authenticity of IDs and does it have links to a government database to be able to validate them.

“Facebook says that personal information obtained from identifiers can be shared with trusted service providers to confirm the authenticity of the identifier. How do we trust these trusted service providers?”

She suggests that Facebook, and any other social media platform, should have the ability to identify individuals based on government-issued ID, but this must be authorized by the government. If that happened, Potnis argues it would be the dawn of a new, potentially safer social platform.

London-based Privacy International said in a recent report that in order to reduce Facebook’s harm, its data-hungry model must be scrutinized.

“Companies like [Facebook-owned] Instagram wants to understand who we are. But their extensive and invasive data collection has devastating consequences, ”he said.

Facebook has repeatedly encountered problems for its privacy practices, with regulators and users wary of the significant reach it has on the internet. A number of its senior officials, including founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, have appeared before a number of government regulators to explain their practices.

In Europe, Facebook is among several large tech companies – including Google and Microsoft – that have spent millions of dollars to influence the European Union’s digital economy policies, according to a recent report by the European Business Observatory in non-profit based in Brussels and Cologne. Lobbycontrol, which provides information on lobbying and power structures in the EU.

Facebook has certainly made it possible for many businesses to share information and connect citizens of the world. It’s an incredible feat, but sometimes greed stands in the way of good. Frankly, no company should become a monopoly like this with insurmountable powers and reach.

Amita Potnis, Head of Future of Trust Research, International Data Corporation

Facebook’s most recent attempt to force users to agree to new terms and conditions on WhatsApp – the world’s largest messaging platform with around two billion users – to share their information on Facebook’s suite has met a backlash and the company was forced to delay the move a number of times before finally settling on letting users voluntarily accept them, but with persistent reminders on the app.

Facebook imposed a similar authorization process in 2018 for elections in major countries, including the United States and India, to “support positive rhetoric and prevent interference in these elections.” Mr. Zuckerberg said at the time. He said they had previously identified Russian interference in the 2016 US polls and deployed artificial intelligence tools ahead of the 2017 French and German elections.

It’s been a tough week for Facebook, which has had to contend with testimony from former employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen, who said the company prioritizes profits over user safety, drawing fire from U.S. lawmakers and forcing Mr. Zuckerberg to deny the claims.

Facebook suffered its worst outage on Monday, shutting down its associated platforms WhatsApp and Instagram for about six hours. The chain of events caused Mr. Zuckerberg’s net worth to plummet by $ 7 billion.

“Honestly, at this point, I don’t think Facebook’s self-regulation policy is working,” Potnis said.

“The company has certainly enabled many companies to share information and connect citizens of the world. It’s an incredible feat, but sometimes greed stands in the way of good. Frankly, no business should become a monopoly like this with insurmountable powers. and reach. “

Update: October 8, 2021, 7:32 a.m.

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