Before this week, when a Facebook user logged on to certain apps for the first time, they were given a diabolical choice: let Facebook access the data of their Friends, or don’t use the app at all. While many apps let users opt out of revealing sensitive information, the fact that Facebook could access the information of people without their knowledge or permission posed a problem to the site’s goal of helping users better control their privacy. That’s why the site announced that the last day of the Friends’ data API is April 30.
According to Facebook, the site conducted extensive interviews with people to gauge their thoughts on their Facebook app privacy. Their conclusion: users want to feel safer. Along with the shuttered API, Facebook is now also requiring all apps to use its log-in system, which provides the user with more detailed privacy control. The site has also created a “Login Review” that allows for a team of Facebook employees to investigate apps that ask for a lot of user information.
“If people don’t feel comfortable using Facebook and specifically logging in Facebook and using Facebook in apps, we don’t have a platform, we don’t have developers,” Facebook’s Simon Cross told reporters.
Facebook has taken big steps toward giving users greater control over their privacy and making the entire system more transparent, but the fact that this seemingly invasive system lasted for so long shows that the site still has some fixing to do.
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