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August 23, 2011

Facebook Rolls Out Photo Tagging Review Process, Various Other Privacy Updates

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Facebook - Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook on Tuesday announced a slew of new privacy features including the ability for users to approve photo tags, edit the visibility of profile categories inline and more.

Among the sites new features is Content Tag Review which allows users to approve or deny any content for which they have been tagged, including photos.

Another new features is Profile Tag Review which allows users who have been tagged in a photo or post to approve or reject the tag before anyone else can see it, if a rejection is completed the post can still show up, however user tags for your profile will not be included.

Attempting to increase user controls over privacy Facebook has also rolled out View Profile As which allows users to view their profile as it would be seen from other people’s accounts, a process that is meant to ensure users can see how their privacy settings are affecting their profile output.

Facebook has also added a Tag Anyone feature which allows users to tag anyone they choose, even if they are not friends with that person, an option that could lead some Facebook users, especially celebrities, with the job of denying or accepting a whole lot of tag requests under the social networks new privacy control options.  read more

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January 18, 2011

Facebook Having Second Thoughts About Sharing Personal Data?

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Facebook Phone Number Approval ScreenAfter revealing plans to share users personal information and phone numbers to developers, Facebook is now sending the idea back to the drawing board in order to avoid another privacy fiasco.

Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks. (Facebook Developer Blog)

While receiving millions of mobile numbers from potential customers is something every marketer dreams of, the last thing many users want is a flood of spam via SMS or voicemail from companies they encountered upon Facebook.

Although Facebook is still insisting at making this information available to developers, it might be wiser for the social juggernaut to find a way for marketers to contact users without directly exposing their mobile numbers to various corporations (sort of like how Google Voice hides your mobile number when someone calls).

Truth be told this move is a huge gamble for Facebook, who could not only face backlash from users (who may simply remove their personal numbers off of the site), but also once again become the whipping boy of Congress.

(hat tip: GigaOm)

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Facebook Giving App Developers More Access To Your Personal Data

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Facebook Phone Number Approval Screen

The next time you find yourself staring down a “request for permission” screen on your Facebook account you might want to think twice, then three or four more times before you choose”Allow” for your new application.

Facebook has announced that they are now allowing developers to grab extra personal data from users, including their address and mobile phone number.

In the past Facebook privacy settings has barred sending phone numbers and address information to developers, relying instead on the users name, gender, a list of their friends and other already available public information.

Facebook is rushing to ease user fears, stating that developers can only access information when users explicitly give them permission and that all data use is governed by Facebook’s Platform Policies, which in most cases hold absolutely no guarantees to users and instead rely on app developers to properly use data they have received.

On the one hand, users have to choose whether or not to allow for their data to be mined, on the other hand, many users have “programmed” themselves to simply click “Allow” when signing up for new third party programs.

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May 25, 2010

Facebook Rolling Out New Privacy Controls This Week

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Facebook Privacy SettingsOver the weekend Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg promised that Facebook would role out new privacy controls, noting that “We’ve been listening to all the feedback and have been trying to distill it down to the key things we need to improve.”

Apparently as I suggested in my response to his statement, providing simple privacy controls wasn’t brain science, in fact Facebook will role out the new simplified privacy settings this Wednesday rather than “in coming weeks” as he had stated on Sunday.

In true Zuckerberg fashion, we won’t know what the new product looks like until it rolls out, however I expect it will offer easier to find privacy settings, with the main concern of many Facebook users being that the social networking site hides to many of their opt-out options deep inside their settings pages.

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May 24, 2010

Facebook CEO Gives Pathetic “Half Answer” To User Concerns

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Mark Zuckerberg - Facebook CEOIt’s hard to tell sometimes if Facebook as a company really wants to work with their visitors to provide an environment they feel is at least semi-private and safe to use, or if like a good politician company CEO Mark Zuckerberg is simply providing a bunch of smoke and mirrors responses to visitors concerns.

In his first ‘public’ comment (a reprinted email response to an email sent by Robert Scoble) since privacy concerns have rapidly increased over the last few weeks, Facebook’s CEO admitted that the company had “made a bunch of mistakes” while promising to “get this stuff right” this time around.

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May 21, 2010

Social Media Privacy Scandal Revealed. Advertisers Know More Than They Should

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Facebook Login PageFacebook, MySpace and various other social platforms are now under fire after it was revealed that they have been sending user information to advertisers, specifically user profile information when their sites visitors have been logged in and then clicked on an advertiser link.

According to the Wall Street Journal that user information was sent despite assurances from many major social networks that they would not send that type of identifiable data without their users consent.

Usernames and ID numbers can be easily used to obtain personal information (various demographics) about users. Among some of the largest groups to receive this information have been Google and their DoubleClick platform and Yahoo Right Media. Both Google and Yahoo however are claiming that they were not aware they were receiving the extra user information.

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