Facebook agreed to change its privacy policies to meet Canadian law today, tightening third-party developer access to user data. The government wanted the company to address what it considered the social network’s biggest risk — “the relatively free flow of personal information to more than one million application developers around the world,” according to assistant privacy commissioner Elizabeth Denham.
The main changes are:
Developers now need express consent from users for every type of personal information they want to access and they need to provide information on how they plan to use it. That means users need to give an ‘OK’ when they want to share data like gender, age or location with developers.
The company will provide clear options on how to deactivate and delete accounts.
Facebook is also making its policies clearer on what will happen to a user’s profile if they die and give them more choice if they want to be “memorialized” on the site.
Facebook will roll out the changes over the next 12 months, giving developers time to comment. But developers will still need to change their code to let users choose the kind of data they want to share and opt out of giving information beyond the minimum needed to make an app function.
“We are still very much in the conceptual stages of development and many of the details are yet to be determined,” wrote Ethan Beard, Facebook’s head of platform. “However, we’ve committed to requiring developers to specify in advance what categories of user data they will need.”
See Facebook’s response here.
See the Canadian government’s statement here.