Four U.S. senators want Facebook to make it easier for its more than 400 million users to protect their privacy as the website develops new outlets to share personal information.
The call for simpler privacy controls came in a letter that the senators planned to send Tuesday to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. The Associated Press obtained a draft of the letter signed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.; Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo; Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska; and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.
It marked the second time in three days that Schumer has expressed his misgivings about a series of changes that Facebook announced last week. The new features are designed to unlock more of the data that the online hangout has accumulated about people during its six-year history.
The political pressure threatens to deter Facebook's efforts to put its stamp on more websites, a goal that could yield more moneymaking opportunities for the privately held company.
Among other things, Facebook is plugging into other websites so people can communicate their interests with their online entourages. Facebook also tweaked its own website to create more pages where people's biographical information could be exposed to a wider audience.
Before personal information can be shared with other websites, the senators want Facebook to seek users' explicit consent, a process known as "opting in." Facebook currently can share some personal information with websites unless individual users opt out by telling the company they don't want those details to be passed along.
The senators also object to Facebook's decision to allow other businesses store users' data for more than 24 hours.
©The Associated Press