Facebook threatens legal action against 'friend purchaser' site as it seeks to revise its privacy policy

Facebook has threatened legal action against a service that sells additional friends on the social networking site.

According to BBC News, the social networking site has said it would take action against the marketing firm USocial unless it stopped violating Facebook's rights. USocial's customers use the service to boost follower and friend numbers on social network sites such as Facebook and Twitter, with 1,000 Twitter followers bought for £53.

Facebook claimed that USocial is helping members break the site's terms and conditions by letting people profit from their profile as USocial claims that using its service can ‘grow your business and promote brand awareness' while the use of sponsored advertisements and direct marketing campaigns are offered.

Facebook sent Cease and Desist letters to USocial, claiming that the way the marketing firm operates violates its rights by sending spam, using web tools to harvest pages, getting login names and by accessing accounts that did not belong to the marketing firm.

USocial has agreed to a change in its practices but said that it would not shut down its service. It claimed that it does not spam users or use web tools to gather information about profiles.

It said it would delete the login information for Facebook users it had collected and broadly stop offering to sell Facebook friends. It also put a notice on its site saying it was not affiliated with Facebook.

Meanwhile Facebook has announced that in coming weeks and months, it is planning to revise its privacy policy further by ‘making the document more accessible by also adding definitions of key terms, screen shots of important pages and informational "learn more" videos'.

Michael Richter, Facebook's deputy general counsel for intellectual property, product and regulatory affairs, claimed that a recent notice and comment period ended on the 5th November as part of its ongoing effort to run Facebook in an open and transparent way.

Richter said: “We've spent the last week reviewing each and every one of your comments. While a lot of people participated, the total number of people commenting did not reach the threshold of 7,000 that makes a vote necessary according to our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Because of this - and the fact that many of the comments were positive – we've decided to adopt the revised policy.”

He claimed that ‘complicated technical and legal terms' were removed and replaced with a simpler language while a redline version to allow changes to be compared was not possible, but Facebook thought it was a ‘great idea and are committed to doing it for future proposed changes to our governing documents'.

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