Fifteen privacy and consumer protection organizations -- including the Electronic Privacy Information Center, the Center for Digital Democracy, the Consumer Federation of America, and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group -- Wednesday filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and sent a letter to Congress that charges Facebook with engaging in unfair and deceptive trade practices in violation of consumer protection law.
The move came on the same day that Facebook temporarily shut down its chat feature after finding a security hole that enabled users see friends' private instant messages.
This latest salvo against Facebook's privacy procedures claims that changes to user profile information and the subsequent disclosure of user data to other parties without users' consent "violate user expectations, diminish user privacy, and contradict Facebook's own representations," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of complainant Electronic Privacy Information Center, in a statement.
The complaint asks the FTC to scrutinize Facebook's privacy processes and to order the social networking site to better protect users' information and communications against security breaches. In part, the move came about because of Facebook's recent rollout of a feature that lets users tell members of their network about products and Web sites they like.
“Facebook now discloses personal information to the public that Facebook users previously restricted," according to EPIC.
"Previously, users had the ability to determine what information they chose to share and what information they wanted to keep private," Schumer said in a statement.