A group of privacy advocates has penned an open letter (PDF) to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg urging him to make a number of changes to the way users are able to administer their accounts.
The group, which includes the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, PrivacyActivism, Privacy Lives and the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, acknowledged that the social networking site had made some positive changes, but called on Zuckerberg to act on "outstanding privacy problems".
"We are glad to see that Facebook has taken steps in the past weeks to address some of its outstanding privacy problems. However, we are writing to urge you to continue to demonstrate your commitment to the principle of giving users control over how and with whom they share," said the letter.
The group has made six recommendations, including allowing users to decide what applications can access their personal information, and that Facebook makes its 'instant personalisation' opt-in, as opposed to opt out.
The way in which Facebook shares personal information with third-party applications is a constant theme in the letter. The group said that the site should not retain data associated with the 'Like' feature "unless the site visitor chooses to interact with those tools".
"Facebook's latest changes allow users a 'nuclear option' to opt out of applications entirely," the letter said.
"While this is an important setting, it is not adequate for meaningful control. Facebook users should also have the option to choose to share information only with specific applications."
The group has insisted that users be given control over "every piece" of information they share in, or via, Facebook. This should include name, gender, profile picture and the networks with which the user is associated.
Facebook should also improve its own security by using an HTTPS connection on its pages, and make it far easier for users to export content to another social networking service if they decide to leave Facebook.
"Users should have control over the details of their social network and the content that they have uploaded to Facebook, and should be able to export and move that data to another service if they decide they are uncomfortable with Facebook's privacy policies," the letter said.
"Facebook should demonstrate its commitment to user control by giving users easy tools for directly downloading their content and information about their social network, as other companies in the social networking space have already done."
V3.co.uk contacted Facebook for a response to the letter, but had not received a reply at the time of writing.
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