Facebook Announces New Application Authorization Requirements

Facebook Announces New Application Authorization Requirements

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Facebook makes privacy simpler.

A kinder, gentler Facebook seems to be emerging. Or at least Facebook wants you to believe that they are headed in the right direction.

The popular social networking site announced this week that they would be taking fresh measures to ensure user privacy and give Facebook fans more control over the information they share with other people.

Facebook Applications

The latest change involves the authorization process for Facebook applications. Specifically, Facebook says on their blog “…when you log into an application with your Facebook account, the application will only be able to access the public parts of your profile by default. To access the private sections of your profile, the application has to explicitly ask for your permission.”

In a related blog announcement of these changes, Facebook described how this process would work, offering JibJab as an example. With this particular application, Jibjab must ask your for your basic information, access to your photos and videos, and access to your friends’ information. Jibjab is an interactive greeting card site, thus the “need” to gain access to photos and videos.

Privacy Concerns

Facebook’s initiative does not come based on their desire to do the right thing. Last year, Canada’s Office of the Privacy Commissioner pressured Facebook to make changes to help protect Canadian citizenry privacy. Later that year and early this year, other governments joined in to criticize Facebook policy with the European Union threatening legal action.

User unrest in the form of threatened boycotts and the development of alternative platforms including Diaspora have also forced Facebook to reexamine its policies. And, according to CNET’s Caroline McCarthy, a coalition of U.S. senators are keeping their eyes on each Facebook development.

This change and other changes being made by Facebook seem to be showing that Facebook actually believes that your personal data belongs to you and that you should be able to easily control what you share. Facebook notes, “If at any point you ask a developer to remove the data you’ve granted them access to, we require that that they delete this information.”

That’s a step in the right direction for Facebook, the world’s largest social networking platform with nearly 500 million global users.

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