Facebook is currently the world's most popular social media site, with over 400 million users. Long-plagued by accusations of security leaks and lackluster privacy practices, the corporation is currently defending itself against a barrage of new criticism. CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave an interview earlier this year arguing that privacy is no longer a "social norm." Facebook privacy policies have been rapidly shifting to reflect this position.
The latest firestorm centers around a new feature called "instant personalization," a targeted advertising service that supplies personal user data to advertising partners like Pandora and Microsoft Docs. All Facebook accounts were included in this service when it was rolled out, and opting out is a convoluted, multi-step process. In a move that some users are calling deliberately deceptive, simply clicking an "opt out" check box does not protect your user data from being shared.
So far, the beta service is limited to three corporate partners — all of whom have promised not to behave inappropriately with the shared user data — but the feature is slated to be expanded over time. This puts millions of user accounts and their personal information at the mercy not just of Facebook, but of the ethics of every company that becomes an instant personalization partner in the future.