Facebook privacy probed over 'like,' invitations
Facebook's "like" button and invitation feature violate Canada's privacy laws, according to new complaints being investigated by federal privacy authorities.
"In both cases, the complaints deal with how personal information is being collected and used," the Office of the Privacy Commissioner confirmed in an email Thursday.
Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart disclosed the new investigations Wednesday while reporting that previous privacy complaints against Facebook had been resolved by changes made to the social networking site.
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The new complaints were made since the beginning of this year by individuals who allege the features violate Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, which specifies how private-sector organizations may collect, use or disclose personal information in the course of commercial activities.
The "like" button allows users to recommend comments, photos, links, or web pages posted by other Facebook users. The complaint specifically deals with the addition of Facebook's "like" button to sites outside Facebook itself, such as NYTimes.com, IMDb, CNN.com and Levis.com. Facebook announced that feature in April.
"For example, if I like a pair of jeans on Levis.com my action will be shared with my friends on Facebook, where they can comment on it. I can also see which of my friends like the jeans on Levis.com," said a blog post at the time.
The other new complaint was about the feature used to invite other people to join or become friends on Facebook. It cited the site's use of users' profile pictures to suggest "other people you may know on Facebook."
The office said it could not provide further details about the investigations, nor could it estimate when the investigations will be complete.