|Consumers rate Facebook|
Under an agreement with California's attorney general, Facebook has agreed strengthen privacy controls for consumers who use online applications on their smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices.
“Consumers deserve to be able to make informed choices aboutmhow much personal information they want to share with others when using social apps,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris. “We are delighted that Facebook has joined Amazon,Apple, Google, Hewlett-Packard,Microsoft, and Research in Motion to provide consumers with greater control and information about how their personal data is used. We need to protect privacy while we foster innovation.”
Harris released a letter from Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan announcing the company's decision to adhere to the agreement.
“As you know, the Joint Statement’s principles embodied essential protections for Californians and others who use mobile apps by encouraging companies that provide mobile app markets to give developers the ability to provide a link to their privacy policies and to display those links along with other app details,” Egan wrote. “As we built the App Center, we were guided by the principles contained in the Joint Statement.”
11 year effort
The agreement recognizes the Facebook App Center’s role as a clearinghouse for a variety of social apps, Harris said.
As it rapidly grew over the past few years, Facebook has faced some privacy-related lawsuits. In 2010 the company was sued over changes made to Facebook's privacy settings in late 2009, when the company changed the default setting for scores of user information to public.
As a result, users' names, photos, and friend lists all became available for everyone to see, even if the user had previously specified that only her friends could view it. In order to make the information private again, the user had to affirmatively go in and change the settings back.
The company also settled Federal Trade Commission charges last year that it wrongly divulged users private information.