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Congress passes bill to share your online info

By Kim Tobin
Published On: Jan 02 2013 08:40:46 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2013 05:21:11 PM CST

NewsChannel 21's Kim Tobin spoke with a COCC professor and Facebook and Netfix users about the new law that allows personal information to be shared.

BEND, Ore. -

The New Year brings new settings to social media. Congress passed the "Social Sharing Law" Friday, allowing companies like Netflix to share personal information with Facebook.

With every click of the mouse, and every stroke on the keyboard, companies are learning more about people online.

"By selling your information, that's where Facebook makes their money," COCC Computer Information Systems Professor Eric Magidson said Wednesday. "And it's an easy way to make money, when you are given a free account, put all the information out there. And the biggest thing, you've signed that policy."

Congress approved the Social Sharing Law, an amendment to the Video Privacy Protection Act. It allows Netflix to post users' movie selections on social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Experts say it's a move to gear specific advertisements toward people's Facebook pages.

"This is terrible, " said Facebook user Daniel Arredono. "Them going into your own private records, and that's taking value out of yourself as well."

"I think it's a little odd, but I mean, I guess that's part of having stuff on the Internet," Netfix user Megan Lyle said. "So you have to learn to live with it I guess."

"I don't feel like it's really necessary," said Facebook user Katrina Leith. "You can go about it a different way. Contact me by email or phone."

But how far is too far? And when will users say they've had enough?

"It's going to go as far as the large companies like Facebook and Netflix can push it, until you push back," Magidson said.

Users did push back on Instagram's plan to sell pictures for ads. The new terms sparked outrage, and after many Twitter users vowed to cancel their Instagram accounts, the company backed down.

"The free service has no way to make money and brings no revenue to its new owner, Facebook. And then we as citizens are investing in these companies, so what do we want?" Magidson said. "We want the company to make more money, so our stock grows. And in turn, we are giving up our privacy to do it."

Another new social media law goes into effect this year -- one to protect users. In Illinois and California, employers may no longer force their employees to provide their passwords to the social media accounts.

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