With more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is used by developers to gather all its data to create surveillance and tracking tools. Ater a sustained pressure from civil rights organizations, the company updated their platform policy on Monday, to ban all those developers from using user's data. Other social media platforms like Twitter and Alphabet Inc's YouTube have also taken similar action by updating their policies.
Updating this policy makes the Facebook user feel safe because it is a known fact that this social networking giant used to give user's information to law enforcement about 80 percent of the time without their knowledge. The ACLU also revealed that the company has been sharing user's data with Geofeedia, which in turn provided that real-time information to 500 law enforcement agencies.
Geofeedia sold that user information to a police department, who was then able to geo-locate the users, track the usage of specific keywords and use their images through face recognition software. In response to this report, Facebook and Instagram then shut off Geofeedia from the service.
In a blog post, Deputy Chief Privacy Officer Rob Sherman says, "Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot "use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance." Our goal is to make our policy explicit. Over the past several months we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of our existing policies; we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply."
Though it is ending the usage of such third-party mass surveillances, it is still clear that cops can get your usage data if they are open to the public.