Criticism of Facebook

Facebook has met with controversies. It has been blocked intermittently in several countries including the People's Republic of China,[152] Iran,[153] Uzbekistan,[154] Pakistan,[155] Syria (unblocked in Syria[156]),[157] and Bangladesh on different bases. For example, it was banned in many countries of the world on the basis of allowed content judged as anti-Islamic and containing religious discrimination. It has also been banned at many workplaces to prevent employees from using it during work hours.[158] The privacy of Facebook users has also been an issue, and the safety of user accounts has been compromised several times. Facebook has settled a lawsuit regarding claims over source code and intellectual property.[159] In May 2011 emails were sent to journalists and bloggers making critical allegations about Google's privacy policies; however it was later discovered that the anti-Google campaign, conducted by PR giant Burson-Marsteller, was paid for by Facebook in what CNN referred to as "a new level skullduggery" and which Daily Beast called a "clumsy smear".[160] In July 2011, German authorities began to discuss the prohibition of events organized on Facebook. The decision is based on several cases of overcrowding by people not originally invited.[161][162] In one instance, 1,600 "guests" attended the 16th birthday party for a Hamburg girl who accidentally posted the invitation for the event as public. After reports of overcrowding, more than a hundred police were deployed for crowd control. A policeman was injured and eleven participants were arrested for assault, property damage and resistance to authorities.[163] In another unexpectedly overcrowded event, 41 young people were arrested and at least 16 injured.[164] In 2007, it was reported that 43% of British office workers were blocked from accessing Facebook at work, due to concerns including reduced productivity and the potential for industrial espionage.[165] A 2011 study in the online journal First Monday, "Why Parents Help Their Children Lie to Facebook About Age: Unintended Consequences of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act," examines how parents consistently enable children as young as 10 years o

d to sign up for accounts, directly violating Facebook's policy banning young visitors. This policy technically allows Facebook to avoid conflicts with the 1998 Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), requiring that minors aged 13 or younger gain explicit parental consent to access commercial websites. Of the more than 1,000 households surveyed for the study, more than three-quarters (76%) of parents reported that their child joined Facebook when she was younger than 13, the minimum age in the site's terms of service. The study notes that, in response to widespread reports of underage users, a Facebook executive has said that "Facebook removes 20,000 people a day, people who are underage." The study's authors also note, "Indeed, Facebook takes various measures both to restrict access to children and delete their accounts if they join." The findings of the study raise questions primarily about the shortcomings of federal law, but also implicitly continue to raise questions about whether or not Facebook does enough to publicize its terms of service with respect to minors. Only 53% of parents said they were aware that Facebook has a minimum signup age; 35% of these parents believe that the minimum age is a site recommendation (not a condition of site use), or thought the signup age was 16 or 18, and not 13.[ Facebook has met criticism on a range of issues, including online privacy, child safety, hate speech and the inability to terminate accounts without first manually deleting the content. In 2008, many companies removed their advertising from the site because it was being displayed on the pages of controversial individuals and groups. The content of user pages, groups, blogs, and forums has been criticized for promoting or dwelling upon controversial and inflammatory topics (e.g., politics, religion, sex, etc.). There have been several issues with censorship, both on and off the site. The changes[clarification needed] made by Facebook have been criticized, in particular the new format launched in 2008 and the changes in Facebook's Terms of Use, which removed the clause detailing automatic expiry of deleted content. Facebook has also been sued several times.