Posted October 30, 2009 3:05 pm by with 2 comments

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Facebook IconTwo months ago, Facebook responded to Canada’s inquiry into the privacy practices of the most popular social network in the world. The (somewhat surprising) result was Facebook changing the way that third-party apps could access users’ personal information and how long they retained user data.

And now those changes are going live. With the info in clear, non-legalese language in the privacy section of the site, Facebook is giving users 7 days to comment on the new policies.

The major changes include “how users can delete their profiles, how long ‘backup copies’ of personal data get stored, and how some of their new data partnerships with companies like Nielsen might impact the ads users see.”

Also this week, Facebook announced changes to apps and APIs. Perhaps most interesting of all, Facebook will also soon offer an API to make any web page into a “Fan” page. The “Open Graph” API will make it so that website visitors can become fans of any participating web page and add it to their news feed.

For developers, MediaPost reports:

Facebook will enable developers to ask for users’ primary email address within applications to facilitate direct contact. At the same time, developers will only be able to send notifications and invitations via email, a user’s Facebook Inbox or the News Feed and other activity streams.

New application and games dashboards are slated for the home page, making it easier for people to see the latest apps they have used as well as discovering new ones based on what friends are engaging in.

Meanwhile, Facebook is ending its verified app program, instead extending the standards from the program to all apps.

Developers aren’t the only ones affected by Facebook’s moves this week. Advertisers and users will be, too. Advertisers should be pleased with the privacy changes, as will bing, according to paidContent’s Tameka Kee:

Elliot Schrage, Facebook’s VP of communications and public policy, explained that the company wants to offer advertisers better conversion tracking; this means the company will need to share more than just the thumbs up vs. thumbs down and standard click-through stats it currently offers advertisers. While the company will anonymize any user data it shares with advertisers, the new policy informs users that they can opt-out of being cookied.

Other changes include the notification that users who set their profiles as viewable to “Everyone” will have that data crawled by the search engines—this includes their wall posts and news feeds—likely as a result of the new data-sharing deal with Microsoft’s Bing.

What do you think? Will you be commenting on the new privacy or other changes in the works? Will these help Facebook in its quest for monetization, or just help with user loyalty?

  • Good news Jordan! More control for users; should we thank Canada? Facebook is number one but it’s difficult not to worry about leaving yourself wide open. I believe it will help with user loyalty more than it will the monetization; were they had by the throat?
    .-= David Walker´s last blog ..The Dust Has Settled, Fire Up Your Engines! =-.

  • lfabris

    there is a facebook app that supposedly helps increase privacy. i read about it in this article that lists apps for parents (such as tracking offenders, product recalls, and more). thought it might help.