WDAY: The News Leader

Published April 28, 2010, 10:17 AM

Sen. Al Franken: Giant social networking site is infringing on people's privacy

(WDAY TV) - A Minnesota senator has some stern words for Facebook administrators: change the site's privacy settings back to the way they were. WDAY 6 Reporter Stephanie Goetz tells us why Senator Al Franken says this giant social networking site is infringing, too much, on people's privacy.

The backlash has started: more than 2.2 million angry Facebook users are standing up against the new Facebook application that now takes user information and shares it with outside websites. Something Senator Al Franken also says has gone way too far.

SEN. AL FRANKEN/(D) MINNESOTA: "To say suddenly everything you've ever written on Facebook is suddenly going to be ours to send, sell, is not, to me isn't kosher."

He and three other U.S. Senators sent a letter to Facebook administrators, saying they need to switch their privacy policy around: saying users should have to "opt-in" instead of "opt-out" of the new service.

FRANKEN: "This is basic consumer protection, protecting people in Minnesota, protecting people in North Dakota."

Franken says the biggest issue is not many people know how to "opt-out" of this new sharing. Right now you have to go deep into your privacy settings to even turn it off.

FRANKEN: "Make it your choice."

CARLOS HAWLEY/ACLU SPOKESMAN: "The primary concern seems to be keep privacy in the hands of those users.

ACLU spokesman Carlos Hawley says these huge sites are starting to get too ambiguous about what's private and what's shared.

HAWLEY: "In order to administrate a site like this, they need a number of connections that we don't. So it's important that the consumer know what those connections are."

Privacy advocates say many users didn't know they'd eventually be sharing all this information with outsiders. And hope the control can get back to where, they say, it belongs: with the consumer. Franken says Facebook administrators have "said the right things" about changing their policy, but nothing's been done yet.