- Meta has eliminated an exemption that permitted users to share a person’s residential information as long as it is “publicly available,” the parent company of Facebook said in an amended statement (via Engadget).
- Meta’s response came nearly a year after the corporation sought an examination of its handling of private residential information from the Oversight Board.
- In February, the Board urged Meta to strengthen its processes for providing private home addresses in light of doing concerns.
Meta has removed an exemption that allowed users to disclose a person’s residence address as long as it is “publicly available,” the Facebook parent company revealed in an amended statement (via Engadget).
‘Meta’s response came nearly a year after the business requested a review of its handling of private residential information from the Oversight Board. The Board responded in February, urging Meta to improve its procedures regarding sharing personal residential addresses in light of doing concerns.
While Facebook and Instagram already prohibit users from publishing their home addresses, the Meta-owned sites take no action against posts with “publicly available addresses.” Meta’s definition includes any lessons that have been published in five or more news publications or made publicly available. Meta has said that it would phase out this exception “before the end of the year.”
As the Board acknowledges in its suggestion, eliminating the provision for ‘publicly available’ private residential information may restrict the availability of this information on Facebook and Instagram. At the same time, it remains publicly available elsewhere, Meta says. However, they understand that embracing this proposal can help enhance our platforms’ privacy protections.
Additionally, Meta is altering its response to posts, including images of the exteriors of private residences. The corporation states that it will take no action if the property portrayed in a news report is the subject of a story unless the story is published to incite demonstrations against the resident.
Also, it will enable users to post the exteriors of publicly-owned residences belonging to high-ranking people, such as heads of state or ambassadors, and organize protests at these sites. And while Meta says it will continue to allow users to post their addresses, it will not follow the Board’s recommendation to allow other users to reshare them, citing that it is frequently impossible to determine whether a resident consented to another user sharing their private address.
Meta did not wholly commit to building tools to make reporting a privacy infringement easy for users. It evaluates the viability of the Board of Directors’ suggestion to streamline the procedure for seeking the removal of private information from Facebook and Instagram. The business claims it is now developing a method for making the “Privacy Violation” reporting option more visible. Instead of requiring users to navigate through two menus and look for a specific opportunity, Meta says it will experiment with making a choice more “prominent.”
The Board advised that Meta create a dedicated channel for doing reports, but Meta rejected it. Meta responded that it is actively developing new media for users to seek assistance. It already partners with over 850 organizations that provide service to victims, including the Revenge Porn Helpline in the United Kingdom and the National Network End Domestic Violence in the United States.
Meta’s proposed policy changes, most notably the decision to eliminate the home address exception, should provide an extra layer of protection for doxxing victims. Doxxing is the act of publishing an individual’s name, phone number, email address, or home address online with the intent of harassing them. Meta is also responding to the Oversight Board’s policy advisory opinion for the first time.
The Oversight Board was established in 2020 and comprised a diverse group of people that provide external oversight of Meta’s moderating decisions and rules across all of its platforms. Meta is not bound by the Oversight Board’s judgments but must reply to its suggestions, as it did here.