Improving User Privacy on Platform
by Ethan Beard - August 27, 2009 at 7:01am

We announced this morning plans to further improve users' control over their information. These changes are a result of our work with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which has spent more than a year reviewing our privacy policies. We see this as an opportunity to do something we think is important, affirming users' trust in Platform by giving them more informed and detailed privacy control.

It is important for developers to have access to information, but we want to balance that with transparency and control for users. We are working on making enhancements to our API to accomplish this objective. We have committed to making these enhancements over the next twelve months, and anticipate a lengthy beta period including opportunities for you to provide input, multiple blog posts, and updated documentation delivered well ahead of time. Understanding that this will likely require modifications to your code base, we want to give you the earliest heads up that these enhancements are on our road map.

We are still very much in the conceptual stages of development and many of the details are yet to be determined. However, we've committed to requiring developers to specify in advance what categories of user data they will need. When users authorize an application, they will have the opportunity to opt out of giving certain pieces of information. There may be some fields that, at minimum, are necessary for the application to function. We will make it clear that the user must authorize the required fields in order to use the application. We also anticipate that users will need to opt in to giving applications access to their friends' data.

A significant part of our roll out plan will involve educating users about why they should allow applications access to their information and their friends'. We plan on providing users with examples of ways applications utilize their data to create great social experiences. This should result in better informed users who are more eager to engage with applications on Facebook. We believe these changes will contribute to the overall health of our ecosystem, and appreciate your support as we continue to make Facebook Platform even better.