Today, March 13, Facebook publicly announced updates to Facebook and Instagram platform policies to clearly prohibit the use of company data for surveillance:
“Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance.””
These updates respond to demands from a coalition that includes the Center for Media Justice, ACLU of California, and Color of Change. As a next step, the coalition is pushing the companies to establish robust systems to ensure that important rules protecting users against surveillance are followed.
“We applaud this first step from Facebook and encourage all technology companies to stand on the side of history that supports human rights and dignity,” said Malkia Cyril, Executive Director and Founder of the Center for Media Justice. “When technology companies allow their platforms and devices to be used to conduct mass surveillance of activists and other targeted communities, it chills democratic dissent and gives authoritarianism a license to thrive. It’s clear there is more work to be done to protect communities of color from social media spying, censorship and harassment.”
Today’s policy updates clarify to all developers that Facebook and Instagram user data is off limits for surveillance. This is an important first step. However, written policies must be backed up by rigorous oversight and swift action for violations. The coalition’s work will continue to make sure that Facebook, Instagram and other companies properly protect users.
For more information, read our full joint statement here.