The German government before this announcement gave Facebook intense pressure to have a look at their “Friend Finder”, feature again. Facebook has agreed to make a major concession due to privacy concerns. The company says it will no longer automatically e-mail invitations to join the site through services like Google Mail when a person uses the controversial “Friend Finder” feature.
Until now, people have received e-mails inviting them to join Facebook, even if they had never before had anything to do with the social network. Particularly disturbing for many of the recipients of such invitations, the mails often included images of people they knew.
“For many, it wasn’t clear at all how Facebook could know that they knew certain members of the social network in real life,” says Johannes Caspar, who handles data protection issues for the city-state of Hamburg. In response to the concerns, his office initiated proceedings against Facebook.
“Facebook will be required to alert users that they should only send invitations to those contacts who they know personally and who, in their opinion, want to receive such an invitation,” Caspar says.
Facebook has so far declined to say whether the new regulations will apply only in Germany or whether they will be introduced across the platform.