Facebook Announces Privacy Improvements in Response to Recommendations by Canadian Privacy Commissioner

    Facebook to provide users with even greater control over information
    shared with third-party applications, and revisions to privacy policy

    PALO ALTO, CA, Aug. 27 /CNW/ - Facebook today announced plans to further
improve people's control over their information and enable them to make more
informed choices about their privacy. These improvements will include new
notifications, additions to Facebook's Privacy Policy, and technical changes
designed to give people more transparency and control over the information
they provide to third-party applications.
    The changes announced are a result of the company's work with the Office
of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, which has spent more than a year
reviewing Facebook's privacy policies and controls. In their report, The
Office of the Privacy Commissioner gratefully acknowledged Facebook's
cooperation in the course of the investigation and commended Facebook for
providing its users with extensive privacy settings. The Commissioner also
made a number of recommendations, to which Facebook has responded with
commitments for significant enhancements that will be implemented over the
next 12 months. The Commissioner has reviewed these proposals and is satisfied
with the commitments Facebook has made.
    "Our productive and constructive dialogue with the Commissioner's office
has given us an opportunity to improve our policies and practices in a way
that will provide even greater transparency and control for Facebook users,"
said Elliot Schrage, Vice-President of Global Communications and Public Policy
at Facebook. "We believe that these changes are not only great for our users
and address all of the Commissioners' outstanding concerns, but they also set
a new standard for the industry."

    Specific changes Facebook will be making:

    -   Updating the Privacy Policy to better describe a number of practices,
        including the reasons for the collection of date of birth, account
        memorialization for deceased users, the distinction between account
        deactivation and deletion, and how its advertising programs work.
    -   Encouraging users to review their privacy settings to make sure the
        defaults and selections reflect the user's preferences.
    -   Increasing the understanding and control a user has over the
        information accessed by third-party applications. Specifically,
        Facebook will introduce a new permissions model that will require
        applications to specify the categories of information they wish to
        access and obtain express consent from the user before any data is
        shared. In addition, the user will also have to specifically approve
        any access to their friends' information, which would still be
        subject to the friend's privacy and application settings.

    Work on the planned changes will begin immediately. However, some changes
will take some time before they are visible. For example, updates to the
Privacy Policy will require a notice and comment period for users. In
addition, the changes to how users share information with third-party
applications will require significant time and resources, both for the
updating and testing of the new Facebook API, and for third-party application
developers to reprogram and test their applications. Facebook anticipates this
entire process will take approximately 12 months.
    "We strongly believe that the changes to the permission model for
third-party applications will give users more confidence in Platform and will,
thus, help ensure the long-term health and vitality of the ecosystem that has
grown around Platform," said Ethan Beard, Director of Platform Product
Marketing at Facebook. "We will be communicating regularly with developers
about the changes and we're going to take our time to make sure the outcome is
something users understand and that developers have ample time and notice to

    About Facebook

    Founded in February 2004, Facebook's mission is to give people the power
to share and make the world more open and connected. Anyone can sign up for
Facebook and interact with the people they know in a trusted environment.
Facebook is a privately held company and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

           Facebook(R) is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc.
          Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

    Note to editors:

    Facebook is holding a teleconference for the media today at 11:30 a.m.
Eastern Daylight Time, 8:30 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time, 4:30 p.m. BST, 5:30
p.m. CET. From the U.S., participants should dial (866) 855-3704. Participants
outside the U.S. should dial + 1 702 696-4946. Please reference conference
identification number 27123563 to join the call.

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