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Facebook Plays Privacy Twister Again

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It’s almost required. Facebook makes big changes; privacy freak-outs follow. Here’s what’s setting off the latest batch in the aftermath of this morning’s announcements: CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company was tossing a policy that required third-party Facebook developers to delete Facebook user data after a day. “So now if a person comes to your site and gives you permission to access the information you can store it. We think this step is going to make building with the Facebook platform a lot simpler,” Zuckerberg said. As Valleywag noted, that drew applause from the crowd — but not so much among outside observers, including many who are shouting very loudly about the change on Twitter.

Facebook has been through all of this before, of course (See here, here, here, here and here).

Still, the timing this time around isn’t the best. Earlier this week, the company announced yet another controversial move, saying that users could link interests and topics on their profiles to Facebook Pages. Turns out, however, that those pages are all public — so a user can no longer keep that info private without completely removing the interest or topic from their profile. That drew the ire of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which scolded Facebook and is asking users to contact the social network to complain.

Here’s Facebook’s response to the latest concerns: “Getting rid of the 24-hour caching removes a technical burden on developers, but does not impact data usage policies. Facebook Platform developers must continue to adhere to policies and provide a trustworthy experience that meets user expectation. For example, developers need to have their own privacy policy and must enable users to delete all of their data from the app.”

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