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    USA Today: Facebook changes touch privacy nerve

    USA Today reports that Facebook’s recent changes are raising privacy questions among a variety of groups:

    Facebook has touched a nerve with a broad range of critics upset about the social network’s latest batch of online sharing technology.

    Ten consumer and privacy groups have joined Reps. Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Joe Barton, R-Tex., in calling on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate new sharing mechanisms designed to accelerate the collection and dispersal of information about Facebook users’ Internet activities. […]

    Users have long been able to share information, manually. But the new services automate much of the sharing process, and appear to tap deeper into user data amassed by the company, says Chris Calabrese, legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. […]

    Laura Antonini, research attorney at Consumer Watchdog, says Facebook’s new sharing features “disregard the privacy of its users by making sweeping changes that expose personal information without giving users the chance to choose what information they want shared with the world.”

    Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes counters that Timeline and the new Open Graph apps are intended to make it easier for users to share music and other content with their friends.

    He acknowledged that Facebook does use tracking cookie technology to monitor and correlate users’ Web activities, just as Google and other online ad networks and analytics firms commonly do. He says Facebook does so responsibly. […]

    Meanwhile, security experts say Facebook has also raised fresh security concerns, as well. The company has recently rolled out new mechanisms to encourage users to share more educational, career and health information, and to recruit “subscribers” to follow them on Facebook, akin to how people follow each other on Twitter.

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