PCC considers ‘intrusion’ of Facebook users’ privacy

Commission to investigate journalistic use of information obtained from social networking sites

The Press Complaints Commission intends to examine the use of material obtained from social networks, like MySpace and Facebook, by the print media.

The regulatory body will examine the grey area that surrounds the extent to which newspapers can use social networking sites for information about people involved in news stories. No specific  guidelines yet exist about the rights to privacy people can expect on these sites.

The PPC revealed that it has received complaints about newspapers using information that individuals had themselves placed on the internet. The PCC’s director, Tim Toulmin, said in a Radio 4 interview:

“We are aware that people are putting up stuff to these sites with the expectation that it is going to a limited number of people, but if they become the subject of a news story it may end up being published to a great deal more people than they initially envisaged. “

He went on to suggest that the extent to which individuals attempt to make private any web-based information may be crucial to defining legitimate expectations of privacy in this area.