On Monday, Facebook announced that it will no longer allow third-party tools to access user data for purposes of surveillance. The company wrote the following in a statement:
“Today we are adding language to our Facebook and Instagram platform policies to more clearly explain that developers cannot ‘use data obtained from us to provide tools that are used for surveillance. Our goal is to make our policy explicit.”
Facebook says it worked with the ACLU, Color of Change, and the Center for Media Justice for several months to update its policy on social media surveillance software.
In October, the ACLU released a report which showed that Facebook, Twitter and Instagram provided feeds of user data to a social-media monitoring program used by police to track racially charged protests in Oakland and Baltimore. The group called on the companies to make changes that ensure this type of situation doesn’t happen again.
While Facebook’s core business is advertising, it also provides developers with access to public feeds that are used to monitor trends and other public happenings. One of those developers created monitoring products marketed to law enforcement to track activists.