Meta, Facebook’s parent company, announces a major rule change in its terms of service. Until now, the company allowed users to post personal residential information, as long as it was publicly available elsewhere. In other words, if so and so’s mailing address was in an online directory for all to see, that information could be shared on Facebook. This will soon no longer be the case. In response to one of the files handled by Facebook’s supervisory committee, the firm decided to review this exception applied to postal addresses.
“As the Board notes in this recommendation, removing the exception for ‘publicly available’ private residential information may limit the availability of such information on Facebook and Instagram while it is still publicly available. somewhere else […] However, we recognize that implementing this recommendation may strengthen privacy protections on our platforms.”explains Meta’s communications cell. The change will be implemented by the end of 2022 and Meta hopes that it will help combat harassment and doxxing.
This change in policy will be associated with a modification of the moderation of publications including photos of houses or apartment buildings. No action will be taken if “the property described is the subject of a report”except of course if “it is shared within the framework of the organization of demonstrations against the resident”. “Access to residential addresses can be an important tool for journalism, civic activism and other public discourse. However, exposing this information without consent can also create a security risk for an individual and breach their privacy.”summarizes Meta.
Facebook’s supervisory committee had been seized on this subject and many others by the management of Meta in June 2021, asked to list its recommendations to improve the policies of use and moderation of its services.