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Facebook Now Says Law Enforcement Can't Use Data For Surveillance

Facebook's announcement comes after a American Civil Liberties Union 2016 report found police used social media data to monitor certain groups.
Posted at 10:09 AM, Mar 14, 2017

Facebook just updated its U.S. privacy policies, and human rights activists are pretty happy about it.

The social media site has banned developers from using user data for surveillance. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, also updated its policies.

Several social media sites, including Facebook, faced criticism last year for handing over location, photos and other personal user information to software company Geofeedia.

Geofeedia partners with law enforcement and aids police surveillance programs. Last year, the American Civil Liberties Union released a report showing police used information the startup collected to track Black Lives Matter demonstrations and protesters.

After the ACLU report, the group and other human rights advocates urged Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to shut down programs that can track users, especially those targeting "people of color and activists."

The new rules don't completely kick law enforcement off the site. Facebook will still provide information on a case-by-case basis to help solve crimes.

Law enforcement can also reportedly get data during national crises and disasters, but Facebook didn't say what events would warrant that kind of surveillance.