Zuckerberg on stage

Facebook answers important user privacy questions. Read them before you install or buy anything.

A lot of folks have serious privacy concerns about Facebook's new Home application. Questions about location gathering, message reading, and the general "safeness" of Facebook tracking what you do on your Android phone. We have our own here as well, and have had plenty of internal discussion.

Facebook doesn't want folks to worry, so they released a privacy FAQ about the new product. It's a short read that everyone who might install the app needs to look at, but here are some highlights:

  • You can use Facebook without using Facebook Home
  • Facebook Home is just another app you install from Google Play. You can uninstall it at any time.
  • Facebook Home collects your Facebook activity, location, Facebook messages, and the apps in your Home app launcher. This data is user-identifiable for 90 days.
  • Facebook can not collect any data outside of the Home app, unless you use the HTC First  -- then it can track what apps generate notifications, but not the content of the notification.

We're not going to judge any of these policies -- that's for you to do. We are going to tell you about them and direct you to the full statement so you can read it and discuss. And you should.

Read Facebook's FAQ on Home and privacy

 

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Facebook addresses privacy concerns over Facebook Home

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I find it interesting that there doesnt seem to be any password protection at all.. seeing as all of your information is right there etc.

i'm wondering the same thing. can't you add a lockscreen pattern or something? i know i wanna see my content right there, but i don't think someone should be able to just pick up the phone and start seeing my updates.

It's still more data than what they currently would get using the standard Facebook app. At the end of the day, they are collecting more data on your mobile usage, especially while using Facebook....which they are trying to get you to do all of the time. Nope, for most techies (read: most people who would read this site) this is dead on arrival. If this eventually became the default Facebook app I would go third-party. If Facebook pulled a Twitter on those, then I would use the mobile website.

>"A lot of folks have serious privacy concerns about Facebook's new Home application."

A lot of folks have serious privacy concerns about Facebook, in general, period. Of course, the biggest problem is what people PUT on the site voluntarily.

EFF Facebook, they claim intellectual ownership to every pic, video, and thought or idea you post on their site, they keep copy's of your entire account even if you delete pics and vids or close your account. Not to mention the Hidden cookies they put on your PC that track every website you go to, and the only way to get rid of it is to delete all cookies. I can only imagine what information the FaceBook phone will gather on you.

G+ does none of these things.

Google doesn't need to get our information in shady ways, we gladly trade it for the free use of their services. Google+ doesn't even have advertisements clogging up my entire display. :)

Or, you know, you could actually provide some value-added work by being something more than a stenographer, and relaying both what these policies mean and make some judgments on them.

They could do that but really even then it is up to us to make our own minds up on if we will use it or Facebook in general. I've been passively using Facebook for awhile now and every time I get directed to Facebook for anything other that checking my friends updates I'm prompted to give an app or 3rd party access to rather vague description of info on me from Facebook. I see this as data mining and possibly worse and don't proceed any further and close the page. It's to the point that I'm questioning the merits of keeping my Facebook account. Facebook has changed into a cash cow where everyone and their brother wants to use it to make money instead of what it originally was designed for. And that design was why I created an account, now I see little reason to keep it.

I suspect that making money *is* what Facebook was originally designed for. It may have been more successful than even Zuckerberg anticipated, but I'm certain he intended to make money off of it.

You were given the key points, in plain English:

  • You can use Facebook without using Facebook Home
  • Facebook Home is just another app you install from Google Play. You can uninstall it at any time.
  • Facebook Home collects your Facebook activity, location, Facebook messages, and the apps in your Home app launcher. This data is user-identifiable for 90 days.
  • Facebook can not collect any data outside of the Home app, unless you use the HTC First  -- then it can track what apps generate notifications, but not the content of the notification.

How can I decide if you're comfortable with this level of data being shared? I'll be happy to explain any of these points in finer detail if anyone has questions, but it's not up to me how you feel about them.

 

Do you have any indication as to whether or not the settings can be modified ala carte or if it's a package? One problem I've had a lot with the Facebook app is that even though I disable location services in the settings, every time I open the app, there goes my GPS indicator in the notification bar. It makes me feel like there is something slimy going on, so I tend to ignore their app.

I appreciate your stance that this should be carefully considered. A few comments above think folks should figure this out for themselves, but unless you're a techie, it is nearly impossible for a normal person who just wants to use a phone or laptop to understand what questions they should ask themselves about how their information might be used; it just doesn't occur to folks who: 1. either haven't worked in IT, 2. haven't taught themselves technology past the simple daily use, 3. Aren't very curious or untrusting or both.
It would be nice if you could build a link for security education stuck at the top. One path to go over over basics and application permissions, another with the implications of topical items like this.

ADS

If it's anything like the actual Facebook website, then they'll change privacy policies whenever they want without actually informing users about the changes. When people complain, they'll just say, "You don't have to use Facebook."

Yeah, I'm going to suddenly start trusting Facebook, because they have such a good record in the privacy department...

When was the last time we heard of someone getting robbed or killed because Google and Facebook knew where they were our what they were interested in? Wtf are people so concerned about? !

+1!!!

And these warnings about putting on Facebook that your on vacation. Uh, do you have strangers on your Facebook that you don't know? Do people put their exact street address on Facebook?

People just need to have more common sense.
Oooops, I just said common sense, my mistake, the people in this country reelected someone who doesn't believe in prosperity and economic growth,...my mistake, common sense doesn't exist anymore.

Ever heard of "identity theft"? Your naivety makes you a prime candidate. Keep those blinders on pal..

"identity theft"? Are you putting your social security number on Facebook? Are you putting your exact street address in Facebook?

Only thing I have on my Facebook is my first name, last name, and city and state.
I don't put my job, that's stupid.

I swear people are so paranoid about "privacy" only what you put on Facebook is public.

And whatever happened to the old saying that "if you aren't doing anything wrong you don't have anything to worry about",. . .I just don't get why people are soooo paranoid about privacy for???

As far as privacy, in general, it is never about if you have something to hide:

* If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me
* Other people define what is "right" or "wrong" and that definition changes all the time
* Someone else might do something wrong with my information
* Pieces of information, taken out of context, can lead people to wrong conclusions
* Scanning information, you can always FIND something that might be wrong or abused
* You can be at the wrong place at the wrong time and still have done nothing wrong
* You can't possibly know what way some information might be used against you at the time it is collected
* Computers don't "forget" and you can't control how long some system will hold information about you
* Once information is collected, you don't know who that company might share it with, nor why, nor how often
* Just because information is not abused NOW doesn't mean it won't be later
* Data can be combined from multiple places to form an even more complete dossier
* The only "safe" information, is the information not collected or offered

As Ben Franklin said: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." Works the same as "Those who would give up privacy for a little convenience deserve neither privacy nor convenience".

I have no interest in Facebook home, but I think a lot of people ignore what Google and Apple collect on the phones to begin with.

Some people may not realize it, or choose to ignore it because of the functionality the phone provides, but I bet you'd be surprised on exactly how much info they have on you and how they use it.

Just go log into Google Latitude on your computer and see where your phone has tracked you recently.

Latitude can be changed in "Settings",
again, more paranoia without reason.

If someone is going to be paranoid, then mess with settings.
Essentially the word paranoid means being worried without reason.

It's even in the settings to be able to use a search engine other than Google.