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Facebook must respect privacy


"Facebook must respect my privacy. They should not tell my friends what I buy on other sites--or let companies use my name to endorse their
products--without my explicit permission."

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Sign the petition



Dear MoveOn member,

Join our Facebook group:
Facebook, stop invading my privacy!
Click Here
Join the Facebook group

When you buy a book or movie online--or make a political contribution--do you want that information automatically shared with the world on Facebook?

Most people would call that a huge invasion of privacy. But this week, Facebook began doing just that. People across the country saw private purchases they made on other sites displayed on their Facebook News Feeds.

And it's no accident. Facebook encourages companies to get "word-of-mouth promotion for your business" to "millions" by using the new feature that makes this happen.1 But the rights of Facebook users get left behind.

Can you join our Facebook group "Petition: Facebook, stop invading my privacy!" and invite your friends to join? Click here:

A lot of us love Facebook--it's helping to revolutionize the way we connect with each other. But they need to take privacy seriously. On the above group page, we ask people to sign this petition, which we'll deliver to Facebook:

"Facebook must respect my privacy. They should not tell my friends what I buy on other sites--or let companies use my name to endorse their products--without my explicit permission."

Facebook says its users can "opt out" of having their private purchases reported to the world. But the link is easy to miss. And even if you do "opt out" for purchases on one site, it doesn't apply to purchases on another site--you have to keep opting out over and over again. The obvious solution is to switch to an "opt in" policy, like most other applications on Facebook.

Here's what a couple MoveOn members who use Facebook have to say about this new policy:

"Last night, I bought a movie ticket on Fandango. Today, I was surprised to see that purchase in my Facebook News Feed. Taking my purchase info from one site and using it without permission on Facebook is an invasion of privacy." - Ari R.

"It's easy to picture serious consequences: A college student buying a ticket to Brokeback Mountain and his homophobic football teammates finding out on Facebook. Or a battered woman buying a ticket to see Violence Behind Closed Doors when she told her husband she's working an extra shift. Or a not-so-friendly employer learning a staffer has bought a ticket to a screening of Living With AIDS." - Mike R.

UPDATE: Here's what some Facebook users wrote on the wall of our group page:

"Oh my gosh, my cousins entire christmas shopping list this week was displayed on the [Facebook News] feed. thats so messed up. This has gotta stop!" - Tasha Valdez from Michigan:

"I saw my gf bought an item i had been saying i wanted... so now part of my christmas gift has been ruined. Facebook is ruining christmas!" - Matthew Helfgott from NY

If we don't fight back now, other web sites will follow Facebook's misguided policy as they attempt to appeal to corporate advertisers. By inviting lots of our friends to join this important group, we can send a strong signal that Internet privacy must be protected.

Thanks for all you do,

--Adam G., Daniel, Marika, Eli, Wes, Karin, and the Civic Action Team
Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

P.S. Can you support this people-powered campaign today? We can run campaigns advocating for responsible Internet policies because of the support of people like you. A donation of $10, $20, or more goes a long way. You can donate here:


1. Facebook description of Beacon feature:

2. "On Facebook? You're being stalked online," Hindustan Times, November 17, 2007