Technology

Facebook's Latest Privacy Changes May Quiet Critics

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/127206271/127206328" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Facebook announced Wednesday that it would let its users reclaim some of the privacy options that they've lost in recent months. Growing political pressure pushed Facebook into its retreat on its privacy practices.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Facebook says it will let users reclaim some of the privacy options they've lost in recent months. The social networking giant announced yesterday it's simplifying its privacy controls. Company founder Mark Zuckerberg says it's in response to feedback from users. But as NPR's Martin Kaste reports, Facebook has also been feeling pressure from Washington.

MARTIN KASTE: It's one thing for Mark Zuckerberg to get trashed on a privacy blog. It's quite another for him to receive a letter on U.S. Senate stationary.

Senator MARK BEGICH (Democrat, Alaska): We clearly got their attention.

KASTE: That's Senator Mark Begich of Alaska, one of the four senators who wrote to Zuckerberg last month telling him they were concerned about Facebook's privacy practices. Begich says Facebook paid attention.

Sen. BEGICH: They moved, at least from their earlier position of we don't have to do anything, we're Facebook, and this is what we do.

KASTE: This summer, Congress will consider an update to Internet privacy laws, and online services like Facebook are worried about tighter regulations. Even if Congress doesn't act, the Federal Trade Commission has leeway to set new privacy rules. But William McGovern, a law professor who specializes in Internet privacy, says Facebook's new policies may buy it some goodwill in Washington.

Professor WILLIAM MCGOVERN (Law): My guess is that it will at least take off some of the strongest heat that they've felt.

KASTE: Senator Begich agrees, saying congressional action on Facebook is probably on hold for now.

Martin Kaste, NPR News.

Copyright © 2010 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from