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Facebook quietly updates approach to privacy and data use

John Moe Mar 23, 2012

We’ve often talked about how the concept of privacy isn’t really native to Facebook. I sometimes analogize it to a kind of weird looking addition put on to a house: it’s part of the house but you can tell it didn’t use to be there and it sort of makes the architectural lines of the structure look all weird.

So then we have the news that Facebook is changing its privacy policy. The most significant change: it’s now called a “data use policy”.

From CNN:

That sounds scary, but Facebook says the changes to its policy documents don’t reflect any actual changes in how the site operates. Instead, what it calls “clarifications” are aimed at more clearly describing to users what Facebook does.

The amended version was quietly posted to the site on March 15th and users were given a week to comment. Did you know about this? I didn’t know about this, despite that I’m on Facebook daily and am, you know, a TECHNOLOGY JOURNALIST. So it’s not something that Big Face really went out of their way to make public.

More from CNN:

Facebook’s current policy says: “When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application.” Its proposed revision amends that line to: “When you or others who can see your content and information use an application, your content and information is shared with the application.”

The idea that apps your friends install can access your information disturbed many of Facebook’s commenters. As one put it: “Strongly disagree — why should I be dragged into apps my friends are involved with?”

You already are. Facebook’s current terms allow apps to tap into all of the information that the app’s users have access to, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes told CNNMoney.

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