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Social Media Giant Facebook Accused of Revealing Sensitive Health Data

The company has not given any official statement on the subject as yet

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This photograph taken on May 16, 2018, shows a figurine standing in front of the logo of social network Facebook on a cracked screen of a smartphone in Paris. VOA

Facebook has been accused of failing to protect sensitive health data of users in its groups.

“Facebook has marketed this product as a Personal Health Record and it then leaked the health data that those patients uploaded to the public,” a complaint filed with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) noted on Monday.

The issue was first noticed in July, when members of a women’s group with a gene mutation discovered how easily the names and email addresses of members could have been downloaded in bulk, either manually or through a Chrome extension, The Verge reported.

At that time, the social networking giant reportedly claimed to have made changes to “Groups” that ended the practice and emphasised on the option for join “Secret Groups” – that are, although difficult to join, but have a more limited discoverability.

However, the complaint highlights that public sharing of privately posted personal health information is in violation of the law, which is a serious problem with Facebook’s privacy implementation methods.

Facebook
Facebook App on a smartphone device. (VOA)

“Facebook has ignored our requests to fix the specific issues we have identified to the company, and denies publicly that any problem exists. All of this represents unfair, deceptive and misleading interactions between Facebook and its users in violation of the FTC act,” the complaint added.

The complaint, which was filed by a security researcher and others, argues that Facebook has failed to make clear what personal information users might be giving up when they join a group.

Also Read- Instagram to Test Donation Sticker on its Stories Feature

Facebook is already negotiating a multibillion-dollar fine with the FTC over privacy lapses, The Verge said.

The company has not given any official statement on the subject as yet. (IANS)

Next Story

Mass Shooting in New Zealand: Facebook Still Working to Remove All Videos

The attack came during Friday prayers when the Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Mosque were filled with hundreds of worshippers. The victims of Friday's shooting included immigrants from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia.

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Facebook
The logo for Facebook appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square, In this March 29, 2018. VOA

Facebook is continuing to work to remove all video of the mass shooting in New Zealand which the perpetrator livestreamed Friday, the company said Sunday.

“We will continue working directly with New Zealand Police as their response and investigation continues,” Mia Garlick of Facebook New Zealand said in a statement Sunday.

Garlick said that the company is currently working to remove even edited versions of the original video which do not contain graphic content, “Out of respect for the people affected by this tragedy and the concerns of local authorities.”

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Facebook’s most recent comments follow criticism of the platform after the shooter not only livestreamed the 17 graphic minutes of his rampage, using a camera mounted on his helmet, but also had posted a 74-page white supremacist manifesto on Facebook. Pixabay

In the 24 hours following the mass shooting, which left 50 people dead, Facebook removed 1.5 million videos of the attack, of which 1.2 million were blocked at upload, the company said.

Facebook’s most recent comments follow criticism of the platform after the shooter not only livestreamed the 17 graphic minutes of his rampage, using a camera mounted on his helmet, but also had posted a 74-page white supremacist manifesto on Facebook.

Earlier Sunday, New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern told a news conference that there were “further questions to be answered” by Facebook and other social media platforms.

FILE - New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks on live television following fatal shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019.
New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern speaks on live television following fatal shootings at two mosques in central Christchurch, New Zealand, March 15, 2019. VOA

“We did as much as we could to remove or seek to have removed some of the footage that was being circulated in the aftermath of this terrorist attack. Ultimately, though, it has been up to those platforms to facilitate their removal and support their removal,” she said.

The attack came during Friday prayers when the Al Noor Mosque and the nearby Linwood Mosque were filled with hundreds of worshippers. The victims of Friday’s shooting included immigrants from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia. (VOA)