Facebook privacy changes would share user data with other sites
The move builds on the Palo Alto, Calif., company's December revision of its privacy rules that made far more user information -- including individual status updates -- public by default. Under the new proposal, Facebook could then provide that data to "pre-approved third party websites and applications" unless a user opted out of that feature.
The idea sounds a little like Beacon in reverse: Where that now-shuttered program had Facebook publishing details of users' activities on other sites to their Facebook profiles, here Facebook would push some of their profile data out to other sites.
(The usual disclaimers apply: Facebook chief privacy officer Chris Kelly, now on leave to run for political office, is a friend from college. Washington Post Co. Chairman and chief executive Donald E. Graham sits on Facebook's board of directors. Many Post staffers, myself included, use public Facebook pages to connect with readers.)
Beacon ended badly, with Facebook paying $9.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit, and this venture might as well. It's already drawn sharp criticism from ReadWriteWeb and All Facebook, among other sites.
But the Site Governance page -- the company's thoughtful response to a privacy uprising last spring -- may also save it from its worst instincts. Most other companies can't be bothered to document line-by-line revisions of their privacy policies, much less invite public comment on the changes beforehand.
Facebook users have from now until 12 a.m. Pacific on Friday to share their views. Will they take advantage of this opportunity? And how will the company respond? Tell me in the comments what you'd say, and what you'd expect Facebook to do with that input.
March 29, 2010; 12:24 PM ET
Categories: Privacy , Social media
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