Facebook has been crucial to the speed and success of international democratic movements and is vital to organizers in Iran. However, by refusing to allow activists in repressed countries to use Facebook anonymously, the social networking phenomenon has unintentionally become what one activist group calls a “treasure trove for dictators.”
AccessNow.org has a new campaign for Facebook to unfriend the dictators.
The group is circulating an online petition for Facebook to allow anonymous individual access and to install a simple and cheap security feature to outwit gangster regimes like that in Iran.
Here’s what the group is saying in an open letter to Facebook’s visionary founder, Mark Zuckerberg:
Facebook should be congratulated and condemned in one go: they’ve built a revolutionary platform that’s catalyzed the political change sweeping the Middle East and beyond, but Facebook has also become a treasure trove of information for dictators, allowing them to identify and track down those who oppose them. In fact, under the existing Facebook platform all our photos, details, and contacts are at risk from identity thieves and hackers. While Facebook is reevaluating its policies, please sign the petition to protect our privacy and others’ very security.
Dear Mark and the Facebook Board: “We acknowledge the extraordinary role that Facebook is playing in facilitating communications across the globe, and we call upon you to take immediate steps to protect your users’ privacy and security. Specifically, you should secure your entire platform with HTTPS, allow users anonymity in high risk areas, protect human rights defenders with special security measures, and resist the handover of users’ information.”
To sign the petition, click here. AccessNow is urging Facebook to make the following changes: