Don’t say that Facebook isn’t receptive to changes requested by its users like myself. Only last month I complained about the privacy issues with taking Facebook quizzes. Now, as the BBC reports, Facebook is going to do almost exactly what was necessary to meet my concerns:
Facebook has said it will make changes that will give users more control over the data they provide to third-party developers of applications, such as games and quizzes.
There are around 950,000 developers in 180 countries who provide applications for the site.
Specifically, the changes will require applications to state which information they wish to access and obtain consent from the user before it is used or shared.
“Application developers have had virtually unrestricted access to Facebook users’ personal information,” said Ms Stoddart.
“The changes Facebook plans to introduce will allow users to control the types of personal information that applications can access.”
Jennifer Stoddart is the Canadian privacy commissioner, who also said:
These changes mean that the privacy of 200 million Facebook users in Canada and around the world will be far better protected.
Another change is that Facebook users will be able to delete their accounts completely, including deleting all personal data, as an alternative to merely deactivating an account, with the data retained to allow easy reactivation.
Now I can’t really claim that Facebook has responded to the concerns in my blog post, although it might have taken them into account as part of its general monitoring of users’ concerns. It seems rather that Facebook was breaking Canadian law and was facing a court challenge from the privacy commissioner. Kevin Sam, himself Canadian, already blogged about this, and I noted it in a comment. Nevertheless I am of course pleased that these changes are about to be made.
Three cheers to Ms Stoddart!