Facebook has launched more changes intended to improve privacy, this time focusing on tightening controls determining how applications collect and share data.
“The majority of people on Facebook actively interact with applications and Facebook-integrated Websites every month,” Facebook CTO Bret Taylor wrote on the company’s blog. “In order for these applications and Websites to provide social and customized experiences, they need to know a little bit about you …With this new authorization process, when you log into an application with your Facebook account, the application will only be able to access the public parts of your profile by default. To access the private sections of your profile, the application has to explicitly ask for your permission.”
The new permissions box pops up whenever users install a new application or first log into an external Website with a Facebook account. As before, all authorized applications can access basic information, including a user’s name, profile picture, gender and networks, Taylor noted.
“This is information that is publicly available on Facebook to make it easy for your friends to find you, and in this case, to help you get started quickly with applications,” he wrote. “You can always control which information you want to keep private through your privacy settings page, and you can remove applications from your application settings page at any time. You can also control which information your friends can share with the applications they use.”
According to Facebook, the company allowed developers to start migrating to the new data permissions model in April. The site is now finalizing the rollout, and within a few weeks all applications and integrations will follow the new model, a spokesperson said.
In May, Facebook announced that it was revamping its settings to simplify privacy controls. Privacy advocates had both praise and criticism for the efforts, leading some to present a six-point proposal as to how Facebook could improve security.
The latest changes reflect two core Facebook beliefs, Taylor wrote. One, user data belongs to the user; and two, it should be easy for users to control what they share.
“If at any point you ask a developer to remove the data you’ve granted them access to, we require that that they delete this information,” he wrote.
Editor’s Note: This story was updated with more information from Facebook.