Facebook's Increasingly Lenient Police Officer Guidelines

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As Facebook has worked more with the police over the years, its official officer guidelines have changed. An Anonymous hack revealed confidential law enforcement guidelines from 2006 and 2010, reports Talking Points Memo. Even back in 2006, when the social network was just two years old and still only open to college students, Facebook had guidelines for how the po could use its network to nab bad guys. Considering the social network's growth and the proliferation of officers using Facebook to solve crimes, the network updated the guidelines again in 2010 it looks like. And, apparently, will do it again today, this time posting the them publicly to Facebook's Help Center.

Between 2006 and 2010 Facebook beefed up its guidelines from 3 sparse pages to 10 hearty ones, which makes sense since more and more offers are using Facebook evidence. The number of warrants granted to law enforcements agencies to obtain Facebook data in 2011 was double that of those granted in 2010, reports Reuters. Given the surge, Facebook's guidelines have added and removed certain details. We'd say, over the years Facebook have


2006: This earlier version said that Facebook will not provide any user data without "a valid subpoena or warrant,”

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2010: Making it easier for cops, Facebook now requires either “a valid subpoena or a legal document with equivalent authority issued through your local court system.”

Fake Profiles

2006: No mention of creating fake accounts to spy on potential criminals.

2010: After some cops used fake accounts to snoop, Facebook changed its tune. It now discourages officers from creating fake accounts. “We encourage you to report false accounts to Facebook, and discourage any use of false accounts by law enforcement,” the document states.

Deleted Data

2006: Back then, Facebook said it couldn't retrieve photos a Facebooker deleted by the time of the officer request, a relief to anyone who has had their stupid friends post photos from that one time in high-school.

2010: Sad to say: no mention of deleted data in the current version.

The so-called new version hasn't hit Facebook's law-enforcement center

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.