Facebook and Privacy: A new policy and advice to help users protect their personal information
Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

Facebook has given us the tools to protect our privacy – we just have to use them!

Online SecurityFacebook has just released a brand new privacy policy that responds to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada’s concerns about protecting personal information. And that’s great news for all of us.

The fact that Facebook responded so quickly and publicly to the Commissioner shows that Facebook takes privacy seriously.

An easy-to-understand privacy statement… for real!?
To put it simply, the new Facebook privacy policy is brilliant. It’s written in plain English (no sneaky fineprint or lawyer words) so that anyone can read and understand it. And, Facebook actually invited comments on a draft of the new policy from members of its user community and received 1000s, so people have had a voice in helping shape it.

3rd party apps and your privacy
Part of Facebook’s success has been that other companies have developed mini-applications, like games or quizzes, to provide users with a more fun and engaging experience. Some of these 3rd party apps gather personal information; for example to post a status update to a user’s friends about a new high-score they’ve got.

The new privacy policy clarifies that Facebook requires all developers of these apps to respect people’s privacy settings and places strict limits on how user information is collected, stored and used.

We all need to play a more active role in protecting our privacy
Ultimately, Facebook’s new policy reminds us that we each need to play a more active role in protecting our own personal information. Facebook can’t stop your friends from sharing any embarrassing Halloween party pictures elsewhere online if they choose to!

It’s up to each of us to choose the privacy settings we are comfortable with. To get started, select the “privacy” option under settings in your Facebook account! You can decide who can have access to what information.

Facebook Security Options

– Ellis Westwood –

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