Industry News

Social Media Mix: Dunno Your Face (Anymore), Activity Log Search Fights Memory Loss and Posting Crime Will Bring You (Jail) Time

The Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC) has released a positive assessment of Facebook’s efforts to bring its data and privacy protection policies in line with European legislation, reports techrunch.com.  

One key improvement Facebook has made concerns the elimination of the “Tag Suggest” feature for EU users. “This feature has already been turned off for new users in the EU […] and templates for existing users will be deleted by 15 October,” according to the DPC.

By putting the feature on hold for now, the platform appears to have gone out of its way to prove its commitment to terms set by the DPC.  “I am particularly encouraged in relation to the approach [Facebook] has decided to adopt on the tag suggest/facial recognition feature by in fact agreeing to go beyond our initial recommendations, in light of developments since then, in order to achieve best practice,” said DPC commissioner Billy Hawkes.

However, the “Tag Suggest” issue is far from settled, as Facebook intends to keep looking for ways to reintegrate it. “It’s worth us reiterating that once we have agreed an approach on the best way to notify and educate users with the DPC, we hope to bring back this useful tool,” said a Facebook spokesperson, as quoted by techrunch.com.

As the history of Facebook scams contains countless tagjacking examples, the tagging feature repeatedly poses privacy risks. That is unless users adjust their Timeline and Tagging options so as to be able to monitor who tags them before the photos go public.

Speaking of privacy, Facebook has just activated a Search option for your Activity Log, which basically allows you to keep track of what you’ve been searching for on the platform. Despite making it clear that “[…] no one else can see your Activity Log, including your search activity,” no clue is given in the official post as to what happens when account hijackers (who will, at least temporarily, be able to act as the rightful owner of the account) get hold of this extra info on their victims. To say nothing of where the stored info on user search history goes (or stays) after users delete past searches.

If tagging or saved search history won’t get Facebook users into trouble, then what will? Apparently, their very own posts. The story of a 22 year old who kept posting about his state of mind on Facebook, while also busy holding a businessman hostage puts self-inflicted privacy breaches high up on the online socialites’ list of don’ts. In a twist of fate, Facebook was actually urged to close the man’s page down so he could find the time to start talking with authorities.

About the author

Ioana Jelea

Ioana Jelea has a disturbing (according to friendly reports) penchant for the dirty tricks of online socialization and for the pathologically mesmerizing news trivia. From gory, though sometimes fake, death reports to nip slips and other such blush-inducing accidents, her repertoire is an ever-expanding manifesto against any Victorian-like frame of thought that puts a strain on online creativity. She would like to keep things simple, but she never does.