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Facebook sparks fresh privacy fears with updated Promote feature

Remove all embarrassing photos yesterday
Fri Feb 15 2013, 14:36
Image of Facebook logo and login screen

SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook sparked fresh privacy fears today with the rollout of a feature that enables friends to promote your posts without asking permission.

Available now, Facebook's new Promote feature allows your friends to pay to promote your posts in order to have the post seen by more people. So, if you think a friend's status update deserves to be seen by more people, you can pay between $7 and $10 to promote it. To do so, simply click on the arrow on the right hand side of a status update, then click Promote and Share.

Facebook said in a statement to Techcrunch, "If your friend is running a marathon for charity and has posted that information publicly, you can help that friend by promoting their post to all of your friends.

"Or if your friend is renting their apartment out and she tells her friends on Facebook, you can share the post with the people you and your friend have in common so that it shows up higher in the news feed and more people notice it."

While Facebook's new Promote feature is good for things like charity fundraising and appeals, a post can be promoted without asking the user's permission beforehand, and that has raised yet more Facebook privacy concerns.

For example, a friend could post an embarassing photo of you - which could then be Promoted by their friends, giving the image a larger circulation. That's just the tip of the iceberg too, and we dread to think what else some friends might pay to share.

We've asked Facebook whether it is concerned by such privacy issues, but it has not yet responded.

The feature is showing on one of our writer's Facebook webpage now, and is being rollout out now to people with less than 5,000 friends. µ

 

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