What’s good for Google should be good for Facebook

There’s a lot of noise being made about the fact that a group of of politicians from the House Energy and Commerce Committee want the FTC to call Google up for some serious question answering in regards to Buzz and the privacy flap in the days that followed its launch. According to John Paczkowski from the Digital Daily blog these politicians have the following four questions that they want the FTC to ask

  • How will google revise the Gmail privacy policy, notify consumers, and obtain consent for this change in the company’s privacy practices?
  • Since Google Buzz was launched on February 9, 2010, how many consumers are deactivated or opted out of the Google Buzz services?
  • To what extent does Google use the consumer information collected through Buzz and other Google services for the purposes of delivering online advertising?
  • If the Commission approves Google’s acquisition of AdMob, to what extent will the combined entity use the consumer information collected through other Google products and services for the purposes of delivering advertising?

I agree that Google messed up on the launch of Buzz but if the FTC is going to go after Google on this matter then as Michael Klurfeld from The Next Web points out they should also be calling up Facebook over their recent changes

One might wonder why lawmakers then don’t go after Facebook more often given these privacy concerns. My best guess is that it’s because Facebook is entirely opt-in. Sure, Facebook collects everything you store on its servers and sells it to advertisers, but before you sign up for Facebook, you agree to a privacy agreement disclosing all that. Additionally, Facebook is usually very public about changes it makes to how privacy settings work: when Facebook gave the options of marking status updates public, the default setting was still private.

As Michael points out there is a slight difference in the way the two companies have handle user privacy – or at least there was. As we have seen with the most recent changes regarding Facebook’s privacy policy this is all changing. Once the changes go into effect it will be up to the user to opt-out which is exactly the same reason that Google is being looked at.

So if the FTC is going to haul Google up on the carpet to answer a whole bunch of questions then they should be doing the same to Facebook, because in my opinion what Facebook is doing is far more insidious and manipulative of user privacy than any thing that Google has done to this point.

After all – fair is fair eh.