Facebook changes privacy controls on user apps

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Users can customise audience for certain content.

Facebook has introduced new privacy controls for user applications that are designed to give users more control over the information they share.

Ray He, an engineer on the Facebook Platform team, wrote on the company's Facebook page that the site was "making available some of our most recent privacy controls to applications on Facebook and websites and services using Facebook Connect".

After Facebook changed its user privacy controls, and subsequently came under huge criticism from its users over how their data was made available, He acknowledged the changes made and said that Facebook was "responding to your continued feedback by extending that same level of control to content shared through applications".

The new changes will see granular privacy options that enable users to personalise the audience for each piece of content they share through applications. A user can select the group of people they want to share with from the drop-down menu near the lock icon on the Publisher on their home page or profile, or the prompts that appear when users share from applications or Facebook Connect websites.

He said: "These new controls give you the power to determine who sees the content you post to Facebook through any third-party application, whether it is on Facebook.com, your desktop, mobile phone, or from a Facebook Connect website or service. Seesmic, a desktop application from which you can view and update your News Feed, will soon offer extended privacy options so you can specify audiences for each update you make from the application, such as uploaded photos and status updates."

He also said that users "may also start to see additional prompts in applications asking if you'd like to set privacy for certain pieces of content that differ from your default setting".

As is common with any Facebook changes, users have commented on the changes with a degree of positive and negative responses. One user asked to "return the ability to control the visibility of our friends lists". Another questioned He's comment that "applications on Facebook and external websites and services using Facebook Connect implementations have always respected your privacy based on what you've set in the 'posts by me' setting on your privacy settings page", saying that it also sets who can view your wall.

One user said: "The fact remains - if we participate in any of the gifts, quizzes, etc.- we must permit Facebook to share all of our friends' and family's personal information. I decline to participate because of that invasion to privacy."


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