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Facebook to Share Users' Details With 3rd Parties

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Will this stir up another hornet's nest or will the language mean everyone falls asleep before they work out the true meaning? Facebook is playing with its privacy regulations again. More precisely it is looking to open them up and - in extreme cases - share your data directly with third party advertisers.

This somewhat shocking news comes courtesy of a Facebook blog post from the company's deputy general counsel, Michael Richter. It is a lengthy post (and doesn't even get going for eight paragraphs), but the two key points to take away are this.

Firstly, Facebook will share your current location information with third parties. The initial step to doing this is by making the language of its privacy policy vaguer by substituting your 'location' for your 'place'. Richter gives the example of your 'place' being shared with a local restaurant.

Secondly, Facebook is looking to expand which companies have access to your profile information. At present you share certain key details only with your friends (or friends of friends, depending on your setting) and the various Facebook applications you choose to use. Now, however, Facebook is considering "the possibility of working with some partner websites that we pre-approve to offer a more personalized experience at the moment you visit the site." In other words, it can decide which companies will get access to your information.

Naturally enough, Facebook will "offer new controls" for those who don't want to be part of these schemes - but crucially, all users will be signed up to them automatically and must manually opt out. Richter said there will be more blog updates as things become clearer, but for those who are cautious about what aspects of their lives are made public I'd refer you to my tried and trusted two step advice: 1) keep a regular eye on your security preferences, and 2) DO NOT PUT IT ON FACEBOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE.

In related news Facebook has added an App Store page allowing users to search, share and comment on iPhone applications. It all seems a bit superfluous to me and is US only anyway, but if you enjoy duplicating services then this should nicely fill in your clearly very empty days.

Link:
Facebook Official Blog Post
Facebook Site Governance

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