Late last year, Twitter announced that it will no longer let developers use its programming kits or Gnip data to develop surveillance tools. Today, Facebook has announced that it intends to follow in Twitter’s footsteps as Facebook has updated its company policy that forbids developers from creating surveillance tools using its data.
According to a post made by Facebook’s Deputy Chief Privacy Office Rob Sherman, the company has been taking enforcement action against developers who’ve created and marketed such tools over the past several months. Back then, Facebook’s policy did not explicitly state that such actions are forbidden. Now though, both Facebook and Instagram has policies that state that developers cannot “use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance”.
Facebook’s decision to update its policy stems from pressure being applied to the company by United States-based groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Color of Change, and the Center for Media Justice. This change in policy is only the first step in Facebook’s attempts to claim down on surveillance tools of course as the groups mentioned above do expect the company to enforce said policy as well. Only time will tell if Facebook would be vigilant in its attempts to protect the privacy of its users.