Facebook declined an invitation to explain how it protects the online privacy of children and teens to the Bi-Partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus, and co-chairmen Congressmen Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), have made public their disappointment.
The two elected representatives sent a letter to Facebook that read in part: “Given Facebook’s widespread use by children and teenagers, as well as its recent settlement with the Federal Trade Commission over privacy violations, we felt that it was important for Facebook to participate in this briefing.” (See full letter, below.)
The briefing will proceed as scheduled on December 14 with participation by prominent stakeholders in the area of children’s online privacy. The two Congressmen have introduced the Do Not Track Kids Act of 2011, legislation that establishes new protections for young people’s privacy and amends and updates the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA).
Facebook issued a statement explaining its decision. “Facebook is committed to continuing to offer easily accessible tools so people can control how they share information and with whom, In fact, over the last 18 months alone, we announced more than 20 new tools and resources designed to give people more control over their Facebook experience, many of which were described in a recent blog post by our founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg,” the company’s statement read. “We communicate regularly with lawmakers about these issues and look forward continuing that productive dialogue.”
The U.S. Federal Trade Commission said on Nov. 29 that Facebook Inc. had agreed to settle an eight-count complaint charging that it misled users about its use of their personal information.
The Hill, Hillicon Valley – Facebook refuses to attend congressional privacy briefing
Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) blog post – http://tinyurl.com/7dds5lp
Mark Zuckerberg’s blog post – http://tinyurl.com/d3jrye3Photo by Flickr user Mari Smith, used under Creative Commons license