Confused by the new privacy issues in the Facebook announcement yesterday?
I’ve been getting a ton of questions about this all day, so let my try to break it down a little…
Today Facebook unveiled quite an extensive list of new features, telling us that "Allowing instant personalization will give you a richer experience as you browse the web."
OK, but what does that mean?
A list of around 30 sites (as of today), including Pandora, NYTimes.com, IMDb, CNN.com, TIME.com, LIFE.com, Fandango, NHL.com, USA Networks, Levis.com, Univision and ABC.com are now able to access your Facebook data the minute you visit their site.
The idea is part of a concept called the "Semantic Web", where data is exchanged between various sites back to a centralized source – in this case, Facebook. By sharing your info this way, they can personalize your web experience by interpreting the data about your actions on the internet.
And that’s where the privacy issues become a concern – now Facebook knows what you do on other sites besides just Facebook.
This is not a new concept. AOL has been doing it for years, as well as Yahoo! and most other ISP’s with "web portals". The difference here is that the average user on Facebook has been using the site under the false impression that what happens on Facebook stays on Facebook.
Kinda Sorta not true. Unless you tell Facebook NOT to share info with third parties, then that’s what they are going to do.
So, how does one control their privacy settings on Facebook? You can control everything on your profile visibility here:
Take note of the last item – if you UNCHECK the box, Facebook will NOT share your info with the other sites.
Hopefully This clears things up a bit, and if you are still confused, just post your questions here and I’ll do my best to answer.