Home Facebook Backs Off Total Exposure Requirement to Use Apps

Facebook Backs Off Total Exposure Requirement to Use Apps

Facebook announced today that after facing legal pressure from the Canadian government, it will begin working on ways for users to choose which parts of their full profile they are willing to expose to applications they add on Facebook.

Though the company talks about privacy all the time, the fact that it will take an estimated 12 months before this situation is resolved demonstrates how invested Facebook really is behind the scenes in a “let it all hang out” philosophy.

This morning we wrote about how Facebook quizzes are vacuuming up the profile data of unaware users. Anyone who has added an application from the Facebook platform, though, has seen the pop-up request for info: if you want to put a vibrating hamster picture on your Facebook page, for example, you have to expose all your info (marital status, school info, etc) to the people who made the hamster app. That never sounded like a tenable situation for the long term, and today it begins to change.

Presumably more user trust will facilitate more use of the applications, but Facebook privacy settings will become complicated with this new policy. You’ll be prompted to choose which parts of your info you are willing to expose and which you aren’t – but isn’t that how real life works? Real life has very granular privacy controls; it’s not an all-or-nothing experience.

This spring, we wrote about Facebook’s moves to encourage more users to expose more of their information to more people. We asked the company on a press call if they were trying to push people towards being less private on the site, and they confirmed that yes, they are. That’s clearly in Facebook’s interest, but we believe that most users are interested in using the site primarily to communicate with known friends and family.

In real life offline, we usually get to choose what information we expose to particular people in particular situations. Facebook’s new policy with regard to using apps will reflect that, but it will take time to put in place and it’s a departure from the general direction the rest of the site is moving in.

We would love to see developers and analysts have free access to anonymous aggregate data on Facebook (it’s in the public interest), but instead the company appears fundamentally aimed at limiting access to aggregate activity while pushing individual users to expose more of their information to platform apps and advertisers.

About ReadWrite’s Editorial Process

The ReadWrite Editorial policy involves closely monitoring the tech industry for major developments, new product launches, AI breakthroughs, video game releases and other newsworthy events. Editors assign relevant stories to staff writers or freelance contributors with expertise in each particular topic area. Before publication, articles go through a rigorous round of editing for accuracy, clarity, and to ensure adherence to ReadWrite's style guidelines.

Get the biggest tech headlines of the day delivered to your inbox

    By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy. Unsubscribe anytime.

    Tech News

    Explore the latest in tech with our Tech News. We cut through the noise for concise, relevant updates, keeping you informed about the rapidly evolving tech landscape with curated content that separates signal from noise.

    In-Depth Tech Stories

    Explore tech impact in In-Depth Stories. Narrative data journalism offers comprehensive analyses, revealing stories behind data. Understand industry trends for a deeper perspective on tech's intricate relationships with society.

    Expert Reviews

    Empower decisions with Expert Reviews, merging industry expertise and insightful analysis. Delve into tech intricacies, get the best deals, and stay ahead with our trustworthy guide to navigating the ever-changing tech market.