The privacy groups were deeply alarmed after hearing Facebook's announcement in June. The social media site plans to track information in order to broaden its ad network but it will be at the expense of tapping the users' browsing habits.
The groups assembled in the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) and made their request in the form of a letter which was addressed to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Irish Data Protection Commissioner (DPC).
In the letter, privacy advocates wrote that "Facebook's data collection practices involve a closely woven relationship among Facebook, its advertising partners, data-broker companies, and various marketing applications services. The extent of this complex network of data collection practices is not immediately obvious to consumers; in fact, users must click through several different parts of the Facebook website to discover the existence of many of Facebook's data partners."
For several years, Facebook has been criticized repeatedly over its rules on privacy. The company responded by enhancing the site's privacy options which gave people more control on their settings. Back in May, Facebook said that new members who would share their posts in Facebook for the first time will be able to share it only with friends and not to the public. Moreover, new users can decide on the type of Facebook information they want to share with third party apps.
In April, the social media site made another change and allowed their users to log in to various outside apps such as Flipboard and Spotify. However, users don't have to share their personal information from their profiles.
When the company made an announcement in June, they tried to explain further by saying "When we ask people about our ads, one of the top things they tell us is that they want to see ads that are more relevant to their interests." If a user doesn't want to be tracked, he can opt out by visiting the official Digital Advertising Alliance site.
Privacy groups also talked about how Facebook tracks the browsing activity of its users on Facebook.com and also on its apps by installing cookies and pixel tags. The group showed concern that if the social media site is allowed to have stronger manipulation on the way it collects users' data, "those cookies and pixel tags will also track users' browsing activity on any website that includes a few lines of Facebook code."
The groups wanted the regulation companies to suspend Facebook's proposal and determine if it complies with the existing laws in the U.S. and EU. All findings must be made public and should be subjected to an assessment.