The social media is growing in their roles for society and is taking up challenges that they were never meant for. From moderating graphic imagery and hate speech, working to tackle issues of trolling and harassment, dealing with the fake news, major networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter, now have taken another challenge of ‘ keeping your data safe from surveillance.’
The posts that we put on Facebook are public and are easily viewable to groups of investigatory agencies. These agencies especially local police use social media as an investigatory source. What’s more, those coincidental cases barely enlist contrasted with mass surveillance tools that software companies can make by using a social network’s API-the arrangement of instruments that permit outside parties to create interoperable programming for organization’s item.
Facebook said in a statement , “We are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot ‘use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance,’’. “Over the past several months we have taken enforcement action against developers who created and marketed tools meant for surveillance, in violation of our existing policies.”
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In order to implement the policy, Facebook worked with the American’s Civil Liberties Union of California, Centre for Media Justice and Color of Change. This was brought in part of ACLU research from September that explained how activist, mostly from Black Lives Matter movement are tracked by law enforcement agencies using third-party tools.
Nicole Ozer, the Technology and Civil Liberties Policy Director at the ACLU of California, says, ““The clear public policy is important because it sends a very clear message to developers and to businesses about what is not allowed on Face book,”. “And if their business model is based on building tools for surveillance they need to get a new business model.”
Twitter alongside with Facebook has also been in action throughout 2016 in their policies of anti-surveillance. They banned the company Dataminr from selling Twitter data reports to government intelligence agencies, and also limiting the data services of Geofeedia’s access. Consequently, Facebook and Instagram also reduced Geofeedia’s access.
The most important thing to look on is how the social networking sites will implement these policies. If they do so, they will be able to safeguard the users from the third-party surveillance. However, its implementation is not confirmed.
Malkia A. Cyril, the founder and executive director of the Center for Media Justice said, “It’s a great first step, but it is only a first step,” “We need these companies to tell us how they’re doing without activists having to work day in and day out to remind them of their obligations to their users and to society. We need the will to come from within to take transparency one step further, document your enforcement, and tell us how enforcement is going through independent audits.”
The groups are hopeful that facebook has resources to set up the internal structure but for the industry as a coming forward to deal with the problems of harassment, censorship and surveillance seems difficult.
Cyril says. “Social media companies they’re no longer just connecting people. Now they have an extraordinary responsibility to also protect. I don’t think they’re ready for that responsibility.”