Tales from the Trail

Schumer vs. Facebook

April 26, 2010

schumerCharles Schumer, the senior senator from New York, is concerned about the protection of  private information people give to Facebook and other social networking websites. And the Democrat wants new federal guidelines to help members of  these online communities keep control over how their personal details “can be shared or disseminated to third parties.”

Schumer (or someone posting on his behalf) says so on his Facebook page. He also posted a press release on his page and echoed concerns about privacy on social networking sites on Sunday at a news conference in his Manhattan office.

Schumer told reporters he wants to make sure private information isn’t given away without the user’s permission.

He said he was prompted to appeal to the Federal Trade Commission after word last week of new Facebook features that allow the  sharing of members’ personal information with outside websites. facebook

“Now all of sudden, with rules changing, there are lots of things that you may have never wanted to go beyond your family and friends but do,”  Schumer told reporters.

He wants the FTC to set new rules for how sites like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter can and cannot use all of that personal information submitted by members.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg deflected privacy questions at a news conference last week, saying the changes did not mean that any more information was being shared than before.

Schumer, who is seeking re-election in November for a third six-year term in the Senate, recently took on the airlines over extra fees they have been charging for carry-on luggage. Subsequently,  five major carriers said they would not charge passengers for carry-ons.  There’s also a reminder of that on Schumer’s Facebook wall.

Photo Credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed (Schumer speaking at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in 2007), REUTERS/Thierry Roge (The Facebook logo is displayed on a computer screen in Brussels April 21, 2010)

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