Raging Grannies is an international organization of women who are social justice activists, all old enough to be grandmothers, according to a written statement from event organizers.
"Facebook says 'trust us' but we can't trust them. Our data should be protected by default, it shouldn't be the responsibility of individual users. That's Facebook's job," Ms. Robertson said in a press statement.
The protesters want Facebook to make privacy its default setting, Karen Damian of Palo Alto said at the event. It should be easier for everyone, including "old geezers," she said, to protect their privacy. She held a poster inscribed, "Facebook privacy settings should not need a computer wizard" — while wearing a pointy hat and cape herself.
Nathan Sheard, a grassroots organizer at the Electronic Frontiers Foundation, said Facebook should take steps to empower users to control how its information is used or shared, rather than make users jump through hoops to protect themselves. For Facebook to share personal data or private information, users should be required to give their informed and affirmative consent, he said.
Gail Sredanovic, a Menlo Park resident, said that in addition to privacy concerns about Facebook, she worries about the growing presence of Facebook and other large corporations in the area. She's noticed a marked increase in local traffic, and it takes her about a third longer to run errands and get to doctors' appointments.
"Do we want to become Zuckerville?" she asked. "I don't think so."
The protest comes at a time when Facebook is facing a public reckoning over the public revelation that a political data firm hired by President Trump's 2016 election campaign, Cambridge Analytica, got access to an estimated 87 million Facebook users' private information. The company also faces ongoing scrutiny about the use of Facebook ads and fake Facebook accounts by Russia-linked groups to influence the 2016 presidential election.
In advance of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's scheduled testimony before Congress this week, Congress on April 9 published his written testimony, discussing the company's role in the Cambridge Analytica and Russian election-interference scandals, and how it plans to change.
Go to is.gd/congress359 to access the full statement online.
He says that the company plans to implement further safeguards to restrict app developers' access to users' data, including removing developers' access to data if someone hasn't used their app in three months.
He also announced that advertisers who want to run political or issue ads will need to be authorized by confirming their identity and location, along with a searchable archive of past political ads, and listed a series of steps the company had taken since the 2016 elections to detect and remove fake accounts trying to spread misinformation.
However, he writes, "Security — including around elections — isn't a problem you ever fully solve."
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