Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has decided to change its account termination process as applied for prison inmates in the United States. This move comes as a response to the civil rights concerns raised by Electronic Frontier Foundation (EEF).
It is known that the company has special arrangements with US prisons. Over the past few years, the company has terminated many Facebook accounts of the prison inmates at the request of prison authorities. The company has not included these actions in its transparency report. It even appears that the social network promise confidentiality in this manner. Prison authorities have made repeated use of this provision to terminate social network use of its inmates.
The company did not care to enquire the reason about why such account is terminated. In fact, the social network created a special page for prison officials that let them send requests for account termination of its inmates.
However, due to the concerns raised by many non-profit organizations over the past few years, the company has finally changed the process since March. The page “Inmate account takedown request” will be replaced by “Report an inmate account page”. Officials will be asked to provide the details of the inmate’s offence and the release date.
The authorities will be required to include links to relevant laws and regulations regarding social media access of prison inmates. If authorities fail to cite such law, they must explain why particular inmate’s account poses a serious security threat. In addition, the company has decided to generate email receipts of the conversations with prison authorities so that the information can be obtained from public records.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) had once said that connectivity is a human right.
Perhaps the company that once denied this right to prison inmates has learned to extend it the convicted. The new process is a welcome change in this matter. However, it is no reason to suspect that the government censorship will stop at it.