Facebook just got a little less creepy

Facebook has updated its policies to explicitly prohibit developers from utilising public user data in surveillance tools.

The move follows heavy pressure in the US from the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union), which last year reported that data from public Facebook user feeds had been incorporated into a police social media surveillance tool used to monitor protests in Oakland, California.

“Today 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,'” Facebook’s deputy chief privacy officer, Rob Sherman, writes on the site’s ‘Facebook and Privacy’ page (H/T CNET).

He continues: “Our goal is to make our policy explicit. 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; we want to be sure everyone understands the underlying policy and how to comply.”

Facebook developers have access to public feeds in order to monitor trends, but last year one developer created an activist monitoring tool that was then flogged to US law enforcement.

The ACLU and other organisations including the Center for Media Justice welcomed the change.

“We applaud this first step from Facebook and encourage all technology companies to stand on the side of history that supports human rights and dignity,” Malkia Cyril, executive director and founder of the Center for Media Justice, said in a joint statement with the ACLU.

Still not convinced? Our step-by-step guide explains how to delete your Facebook account permanently.

Related: How to delete Facebook

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