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Facebook rewords policy to expressly forbid harnessing data for surveillance

Facebook outlaws harnessing data for surveillance in usage policy amendment

Facebook has closed a legal loophole in its terms and conditions of use which allowed developers to harness its data for surveillance, changing its language to more clearly outlaw such practices.

Tightened wording expressly prohibits developers from using "data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance", making such activity explicit for the first time.

The changes, which will affect Instagram users as well, have been prompted by a number of recent incidents in which the social network was obliged to take "enforcement action" against third-party developers who have been abusing their data access rights, according to the update.

Among those to take advantage of the loophole were the security services who allegedly accessed data from Facebook, Twitter and Instagram via the surveillance tool Geofeedia to monitor protests in the US city of Baltimore.

In the wake of the controversy all three platforms revoked Geofeedia’s access rights, but now Facebook has joined Twitter in going out of its way to call out such behavior.

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John Glenday

John Glenday is responsible for compiling The Drum's daily morning bulletin and ensuring that overnight breaking news is covered while you're still brushing your teeth. Can also make a mean cup of tea.

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