FacebookDraws Hill Fire Over Privacy

Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton 9R-tex.), something of a
privacy issue tag-team as co-chairs of the House Privacy Caucus, have
asked Facebook CEO Mark Zucerkberg to answer questions about privacy

A May 11 story in the Wall Street Journal reported that
a "security vulnerability" that allowed advertisers and other third
parties to access accounts and personal information.

While Facebook has said the problem has been fixed, the
legislators want to know how it happened, which it was allowed to persist
undetected for so long--the Journal reported it had been going on "for
years, and whether it could happen again.

The pair also wrote Facebook back in October after
reports third parties had gathered info about Facebook users. "This
issue cannot be ignored," they said, "and our concerns
about Facebook's privacy policies are continuously increasing."

They wants answers by June 2 to questions including:

"What is Facebook's estimate of the magnitude of
the data leakage?
"What is Facebook doing to inform users of the leakage of personal
data?  Has Facebook informed users of options to address the problem?
"What is Facebook's estimate of the duration of the problem? What
policies and procedures does Facebook have in place to ensure
that Facebook applications do not share users' personal information,
including account information, with third parties without users'
"Is the access by third party applications a violation of Facebook's
privacy policy?"

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.