Thursday, August 27, 2009

Canada Helps to Make Global Facebook Change

Back in July of 2009 the Canadian Office of the Privacy Commissioner made headlines when they released a report that indicated Facebook, one of the leading social networking tools in the world, had been violating a number of Canadian privacy issues. These concerns were heard by the California-based company, and the solutions will mean global changes to all 200 million users.

The report's biggest concern was with the amount of personal information it shared with third-party developers who built applications (online games, quizzes, applications, etc.) for Facebook. Too much personal information was being exchanged without users' knowledge (see Sneaky Facebook). And this didn't make the Canadian Privacy Commisioner too happy.

The result? Facebook recognized the concerns and realized that implementing the changes would have a positive effect on its users. Facebook said it would retrofit its website with new controls that would limit the personal information that developers could access. Facebook will also make it clearer to users that there is a difference between deleting an account and making it inactive.

"We're satisfied that with these changes, Facebook is on the way to meeting the requirements of Canada's privacy laws," said Canada's federal privacy commissioner, Jennifer Stoddart at a news conference in Ottawa.

The effects of these changes will definitely mix things up in the Facebook applications world, as developers will be required to change the way they do things. But ultimately it will mean safer, more private social networking for users all around the world.

Canada is pleased. Facebook is pleased. And now the whole world can be pleased knowing that their personal information is a little more private.

For the full story, read the article on Bloomberg.com.