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Facebook to Share Users' Details With 3rd Parties

Gordon Kelly


Facebook to Share Users' Details With 3rd Parties

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.


Facebook Official Blog Post

Facebook Site Governance


March 30, 2010, 9:18 am

With a daughter who uses Facebook I do wonder how her privacy and by inference our family *data* will be safeguarded.

I suppose this is one of the downsides of the 'net - Being seem as a global marketing opportunity. Opt outs are all very well but strike me as a clever way to avoid corporate responsibility to their users....


March 30, 2010, 9:31 am

The Horror! The Stasi wet-dream that is Facebook is grows more and more brazen. Having said that, I do use it :/

It would be good if TR could monitor the situation and post reminders in the news section so that those absent minded proles who at least read TR can stay on top of it.


March 30, 2010, 1:14 pm

^ What Hedgeporker said. ^

I usually sit far into the Laissez-faire side of privacy concerns, but this one I'm NOT ok with.


March 30, 2010, 5:52 pm

The fact that opt-outs like this are even legal suggest we need greater protection of our privacy. For those who think systems like this are acceptable on the basis that you still have a choice, consider this: what if you are a "lapsed" Facebook user who still has an account but doesn't check it any more? You wouldn't see any prompts, so you wouldn't know your personal data was being "shared" (sold) to third parties. Not cool.


March 30, 2010, 6:10 pm

Facebook's welcome to my details. At least if they're interested in a 101 year old Taiwanese female going by the name of Roger.

The biggest problem in dealing with Facebook is that there isn't a social networking to rival it and tempt away users if it continues with tactics such as these.


March 30, 2010, 11:03 pm

People tend to forget - facebook is a free 'service;. They have no commitment to you.

To be honest, I'm surprised it has taken them so long to tap into this revenue stream.


April 1, 2010, 12:09 am

Prem: Free or not, they hold personal data and should be held responsible for what they do with it. Frankly I think the Data Protection Act needs updating.


April 1, 2010, 4:02 pm

I can understand companies have to make money some so I wouldn't mind if Facebook had a reasonable subscription fee which was advertisement free and my data was not shared with 3rd parties without my consent. And the subscription fee has to be competitive with web hosting services.

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