Facebook announces new data-sharing privacy plans

Facebook talks privacy
Facebook talks privacy

Facebook has outlined a number of changes to its privacy settings, which includes the sharing of user information to third parties.

The changes mean that advertisers may start to tailor ads to your interests on the site - much like they do at the moment, with users who are part of Facebook Connect.

Like most settings within Facebook at the moment, users will automatically be included to give your information away to 'pre-approved third-party applications', unless they manually go into the settings and opt-out of the service.

"We occasionally need to provide General Information about you to pre-approved third party websites and applications that use Platform at the time you visit them (if you are still logged in to Facebook)," notes Facebook.

"Similarly, when one of your friends visits a pre-approved website or application, it will receive General Information about you so you and your friend can be connected on that website as well (if you also have an account with that website)."

The time and the place

The information given out is actually quite detailed. It includes your date of birth and what device you use to access and even your location.

The location part is an interesting one, as it relates to something that isn't happening on the site yet.

Facebook is changing its location information to include places. This brings Facebook in line with services like Foursquare, which merges social-networking with locations.

"We've removed the old language and instead added the concept of a 'place' that could refer to a page, such as one for a local restaurant," explains Facebook on its blog.

"As we finalise the product, we look forward to providing more details, including new privacy controls."

While it's great that Facebook is being transparent about its privacy options, it's a worry that it seems to be changing its privacy settings more frequently.

Facebook has said that these changes aren't set in stone quite yet, however, and it is asking its users to comment on the new settings.

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.