Jun 8, 2015 · 1 minute

Facebook is now requiring prison officials to explain how allowing an inmate to access the social network breaks the law, or at least represents a risk to society, instead of merely suspending the inmates' account whenever officials ask it to.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation says this change is part of Facebook's efforts to overhaul the way it treats inmates who access its social network -- especially if they're incarcerated in states where using Facebook isn't illegal.

Those efforts were motivated by public backlash when the EFF revealed that Facebook would suspend inmates' accounts whenever officials asked. (To say nothing of placing inmates in solitary confinement for accessing the service.)

Most of the time the suspension was justified by inmates breaking Facebook's terms of service by sharing their passwords; in at least one instance, though, an account was suspended because its owner wasn't abiding "inmate regulations."

As I wrote when these issues were revealed in February:

The result: A system through which prisoners can be subjected to the cruelest treatment allowed on American soil while their holders are able to censor them by appealing to a company which doesn’t appear to care about inmates’ freedoms.

Still think Mark Zuckerberg isn’t full of it? Now, at least, it seems that Facebook is no longer censoring inmates without reason. Yet the EFF notes that, while Facebook's efforts are laudable, there are still some issues with the way it handles these requests from prison officials:

Facebook provides information about government requests for content removal from other countries, but not from the United States. Other companies have in fact provided details about domestic content removal requests, including one where Google rejected a request from the Georgia Department of Corrections to remove a video showing abuse of inmates.

Moving forward, Facebook needs to embrace transparency and show exactly how many requests it receives each year and how it handles these requests. Secret online censorship has no place at a company that believes connectivity is a human right. Facebook has taken one step forward. Now it just has to take a few more.