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Facebook Privacy Changes Spur Pushback [AUDIO]

A set of public interest groups have sent a letter to federal regulators, asking them to block Facebook’s proposed privacy changes.

“You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you. If you have selected a specific audience for your content or information, we will respect your choice when we use it.”

In short, having a Facebook account automatically allows your name and photos to be sold for commercial reasons, except to companies for which you’ve denied permission. Your info can then be posted elsewhere, a move advertisers hope would lure more potential buyers.

Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

According to a Facebook spokesperson, the new language doesn’t change the site’s ads practices or policies; it only makes things clearer for people who use the site.

The revised language comes in response to a 2011 lawsuit settlement, in which Facebook promised to be more transparent with its privacy practices.

Either way, the policy doesn’t sit well with the groups who signed the letter for the Federal Trade Commission.

“The truth is that this is an unprecedented, digital data power grab,” said Jeff Chester, Executive Director of the Center for Digital Democracy. “Federal regulators must step in and protect all Facebook users, especially teens.”

Per the revised section, Facebook users under the age of 18 “represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to the terms of this section.”

“From the very beginning, Facebook constantly pushed the boundaries of what it can collect,” Chester added. “Facebook’s been ramping up its data-targeting business since it went public.”

In a note on Facebook’s site, Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said the company will carefully consider user feedback before adopting any changes. A comment section below the announcement showed nothing but negative reaction.

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