Facebook Develops New Privacy Policy

Lecturer Ryan Calo spoke with Mike Swift of the San Jose Mercury News about Facebook's privacy policy and its proposed use of interactive tools to allow users to build their own ads on the site. The story can be found here:

Facebook is rewriting its privacy policy in plain-spoken English, and preparing new tools to show users how their personal data is used.

"We're really an innovative, cutting-edge company on a lot of different fronts, and I think we feel like, 'Why can't we be innovators in privacy as well?' " Michael Richter, Facebook's chief privacy counsel, said in an interview this week. "The company cares about privacy."


Ryan Calo, director of the Consumer Privacy Project at Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society, says a privacy policy cannot be both succinct and thorough. "I am completely skeptical of privacy policies as a way to inform users," he said. "Nobody reads them."

Calo said, however, he is more excited about interactive tools Facebook is proposing that would allow users to do things like build their own ad on Facebook, to demonstrate that the social network does not share an individual's data with advertisers targeting a specific demographic.