Since the revision of the Facebook layout to the 'Timeline' structure, there is a new 'Map' page that collects all geographical information from your posts, pictures, and profile information. It also aggregates this data from posts that you are tagged in. It is not new that Facebook collects this information, but the way that it parses and displays the information is invasive and dangerous. It is also confusing and difficult for the user to control.
As a Facebook user, you are not allowed to remove the Map page from your profile. You can obscure it by removing the shortcut from the top of your Timeline, but as it aggregates data from your various geo-tags on Facebook, it will pop-up in your Timeline feed. The availablity of location data to the Friend that views the Map is dependent on the privacy setting of each individual post, picture, or tag attached to the user.
The only way to control the data that appears on the Map page is to individually change the location information on every post, picture, or profile-attribute attached to the user's profile. A user cannot change or remove location data from a post or picture that they are tagged in. The only way to remove a tag from the map is to remove the tagged item from the Timeline altogether.
Why is this bad?
- It is confusing to the user.
- This personal information can be very dangerous to a user. It can provide a detailed account of where they have been which could provide a potential stalker with ample information to follow the user.
- There are no global privacy controls over this feature.
- Removing items from the Map is exceedingly tedious. It is difficult enough that many users will not be able to accomplish it.
- In order to restrict your location information, you have to choose to not participate in the popular tagging functions of Facebook.
What do we want from this petition?
- We want Facebook to provide the option to completely remove the Map page from a user's profile, and the ability to restrict the audience of the page, like every other feature of Facebook.
- We want Facebook to provide a privacy function that will remove all geographical data from past posts, pictures, and profile-attributes. This data must be deleted from their servers upon the user's request.
- We want Facebook to allow the user to remove, restrict, and change geographical data attached to posts and pictures that the user is tagged in. There should be both a global and granular control for this.
Please support this petition and your right to privacy. As social websites become more prominent communication tools in our lives, we need to set the boundries and expectations for their roles in our lives. If Facebook is to expect our patronage, then they need to meet our expectations for privacy.