Continuing its effort to calm user concerns and satisfy regulators, Facebook is extending its privacy controls to the third-party applications users add to their Facebook accounts.
Facebook CTO Bret Taylor explained:
With this new authorization process, when you log into an application with your Facebook account, the application will only be able to access the public parts of your profile by default. To access the private sections of your profile, the application has to explicitly ask for your permission.
According to BBC News, the Center for Democracy and Technology says the changes, which began when Facebook was working to resolve issues Canada had with the company's privacy practices, are "encouraging" and "an important step." But not everyone feels that way.
The Wall Street Journal points to the American Civil Liberties Union's Chris Conley, who is concerned that the privacy settings for third-party apps don't allow users to affirmatively choose what information their friends can have access to when they install the apps. Conley said:
This is essentially an "all or nothing" decision, because it simply is not feasible to protect data by blocking individual apps since new apps are added every day.
Facebook's response to that concern is that users should trust their friends to make wise decisions about sharing their personal info, just like they would trust their friends to handle such information carefully in real life. Taylor said simply:
I trust my friends to use good judgment.