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Latest Privacy Changes on Facebook

Following the privacy violation charges by the Canadian Privacy Commission, Facebook announced four new privacy changes.  The privacy changes will impact all users and not just Canadian users alone.   Here’s a scoop about the issues Canadian government had with Facebook and how Facebook responded to those:

1) Retention of consumer data:

The Issue: Once a user opts out of Facebook, what happens to the information shared by the user on Facebook is unclear.  On Facebook, deactivation of account was not an option for deletion. A system that ensures complete deletion of user data upon account deactivation was demanded.

Facebook response: Upon deactivation, users will be 3d headsets notified with the “delete” option.   They have the choice to elect a complete wipe out of all user account details forever or have them saved on Facebook’s database for future reactivation.

2) Hack through application:

The Issue:  when a user uses a particular application, the developer of the application has full access to the user’s profile.  Marketers and other third parties can use the personal data for marketing or for other purposes. This amounts to hacking of personal information.

Facebook response: Applications will notify users about the part of their profile data that will be made available for the application.  Information in the user’s profile will be split into categories and the user has the option of checking off data which he/she wishes to make unavailable for application developers.  On the other hand, developers need to give an explanation for viewing or using any data from a user’s profile.

3) Invite-to-Facebook:

The Issue:  The “Invite to Facebook” is an option on Facebook which allows existing users to invite non-users to join Facebook. This is done by sending a request to a non-user’s mail ID, urging them to join Facebook.  What happens to the e-mail addresses used on Facebook to invite non-users was unclear.

Facebook response:  Facebook responded saying that it does not have a separate database that stores e-mail addresses used to invite non-users to join Facebook.  In addition to this confirmation, Facebook plans to update the “terms of service” section on the website explaining the processing of non-user information by Facebook.

4) Memorial service for the dead?

The Issue:  When a Facebook user dies, Facebook could become a virtual epitaph or other users can leave messages on the dead person’s Facebook wall.  Although this sounds nice, what happens to the account later is unclear.

Facebook response: Facebook plans to update its “Privacy policy” with an explanation of what happens to a person’s account after his/her death.  How Facebook is going to confirm the news of the user’s death is still unclear.

Facebook has responded well in the past and has implemented certain promised privacy measures [read more].

It would be interesting to see how these new changes take shape in the system.

As a user of Facebook, would you like to see any other privacy setting implemented? Do you care about what would happen to your Facebook profile after you are dead?

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About the Author

Vikas Sah is the Founder and CEO of Zitz Solutions. He has great interest in internet marketing in particular in Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Marketing. Connect with him on: twitter, LinkedIn


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