Facebook has made some big changes to its platform policy that it formally announced today. The changes forbid developers from using the company’s data for the purposes of surveillance. The language in the policy has been changed to clearly explain that developers cannot use data obtained from Facebook to provide tools that will be used for surveillance.
The company says that it has made this change to ensure that its policy regarding this matter is explicit. It has also confirmed that this change applies to Instagram too.
Facebook decided to make this move following several incidents where it had to take “enforcement action” against third-party developers that had data access. It was revealed in October last year by the ACLU that law enforcement used a popular social media tool Geofeedia to access data from Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. This tool was used by police to keep an eye on protests following the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore.
All three companies mentioned in that report terminated that company’s data access and have since made policy changes. Facebook says that it worked with groups like the ACLU and Color of Change to create this policy change.
It is now explicitly making it clear to developers that they cannot use data obtained from Facebook for tools that allow surveillance of users.