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Facebook launches ‘permissions’ for apps, web sites


Facebook is rolling out a new feature that requires outside applications and web sites to tell users exactly what parts of their profiles have to be shared for the apps to work, reports the Associated Press. Applications already had to ask users for permission to access anything in their profiles that wasn’t public. But these services didn’t have to specify what information they were using, such as eMail addresses, birthdays, or photos. Under the new policy, the services will say which aspects of a profile they will mine, but the user still won’t be able to pick out which pieces they want to grant access to. They have to either grant permission for all uses or disallow the app from working. The change is part of Facebook’s cooperation with Canada’ privacy commissioner, who has been among the sharpest critics of the company’s privacy policies. The world’s largest online social network has come under fire for the way it treats the information its nearly 500 million users post on the site. Most recently, privacy advocates and lawmakers have complained about Facebook’s “instant personalization” feature, which draws information from users’ profiles to customize a handful of other sites. In response, Facebook simplified its privacy settings in changes unveiled last month—though some critics still say these changes don’t go far enough…

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