When Facebook announced Home, a heavily integrated mobile platform for Android phones, many people were worried that it represented just another invasion of privacy by the social network. While Facebook will become a bigger part of users’ mobile experiences, the company swears that Home does not take any more information than its native application or the desktop version of the site. Facebook’s Michael Richter (chief privacy officer) and Erin Egan (chief privacy officer of policy) attempted to address users’ concerns in a recent blog post.
Even though Facebook’s privacy settings change often, a study by Carnegie Mellon University shows that more users are becoming better at keeping sensitive information off the social network. According to a study of more than 5,000 Facebook profiles, fewer users are making public information such as date of birth and political affiliation. However, confusion over Facebook’s privacy settings has led to an increase in posting of interests such as favorite movies, books, and music — as well as sharing to applications and advertisers.
Facebook is continually changing its privacy settings, trying to give users more control over what they want to share and with whom. But still, even with the most stringent settings in place, personal information can find a way out. The Wall Street Journal examined how Facebook changed the lives of two gay college students, when a classmate added them to a public group for other gay choir singers at the school — an action that was shared on the students’ news feeds.
A Facebook customer-satisfaction survey appears to be making the rounds, but this one sticks to the user experience, and doesn’t detour into politics, like a similar effort that was released in error last month.
Facebook has compiled myriad data about what users are doing on the site. What about when they go to another corner of the Web? The company has partnered with Datalogix in an effort to see if people who see ads on the social network end up actually buying the products. There’s already a movement for the Federal Trade Commission to investigate the deal.
For years, Mixi has been the social media site of choice in Japan. But new reports suggest that Facebook could overtake Mixi by the end of the year, thanks to The Social Network and a model that promotes more sharing of information.
Not everyone was excited when Facebook acquired facial recognition software company Face.com. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), the radio host-turned-politician, called a hearing Wednesday to discuss issues regarding facial recognition. In particular, he didn’t care for Facebook’s opt-in by default setting and what it means for privacy.
Facebook may play fast and loose with most of your personal information, but at least it has never had a major password breach — like Yahoo or Formspring. That got a writer for The Verge wondering: Is Facebook actually safer when it comes to the security of your password?
Glassdoor is a great way to get the inside scoop on a company before you send in a job application. Job seekers can compare salaries and read anonymous reviews from employees to get a better sense of what it’s really like to work at a certain place. But now that Glassdoor has integrated with Facebook, users can see which friends are on Glassdoor, taking away the sense of anonymity.
Concerns about personal information collected by Facebook applications still linger despite efforts by the social network and developers to educate users on what data they collect and how they use it, and a new infographic from BackgroundCheck.org lists some surprising names among its worst offenders.