Late last week, a European privacy rights group gave Facebook the dubious honor of becoming its “Privacy Villain of the Year.” The European Digital Rights initiative (EDRi) “awards” these negative prizes in an attempt to draw attention to what it deems are the worst user privacy abuses in a given year.
The group said that it nominated Facebook for the award for three main reasons. The first is the amount of information that Facebook has access to, including your personal phone numbers, email address, birthday, and much more. The second is that Facebook tracks user activity around the web even when you aren’t logged in to the site. And finally, EDRi was harshly critical of Facebook for making these privacy-invading policies its default setting.
“We nominated Facebook for the award because their default settings are noxious for privacy,” said Joe McNamee, executive director of EDRi. “To understand what privacy you are giving away when you use Facebook… well, that is impossible. Data algorithms that can make new assumptions about users are being constantly developed — even Facebook today would have difficulty knowing how they will use your data tomorrow.”
Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has probably won a lot of awards in his life, but this isn’t one that he’ll be bragging about anytime soon.