Facebook on Privacy Concerns: Don’t Worry, Opting Out ‘Easy’

FacebookFacebook received more than 4,000 comments from users, regulators, and online privacy advocates on controversial policy revisions, including information sharing with new third-party partner sites.
With a post on Facebook’s blog today, Barry Schnitt  –  Facebook’s director on the Communications and Public Policy team – reiterated the social media network’s intention to partner with pre-approved third-party sites “even though this program has not yet been launched or even finalized.”
He also said he wanted to “clear up” a misconception about information sharing with advertisers on Facebook.
“We don’t share your information with advertisers unless you tell us to (e.g. to get a sample, hear more, or enter a contest),” Schnitt said. “Any assertion to the contrary is false. Period. Instead, we enable advertisers to target anonymized demographics and attributes.”
Schnitt also provided feedback on the topic of third-party partnerships that drew a great deal of angry responses from users during the seven-day comment period that ended Friday. Schnitt said the third-party program will be with a “handful of carefully selected partners to provide express personalization on their sites.”
He said these partners will be “pre-selected, reviewed, and bound by contracts with Facebook – much like other partners we have worked with in other contexts to deliver unique and innovative experiences.”
He emphasized that these partners will be required to “provide an easy and prominent method for you to opt out directly from their website and delete your data if you do opt out.”
Many comments submitted criticized the “opt out” option for third-party sharing as an invasion of privacy.
Schnitt said there will also be new features on Facebook to help users control their  experience when they visit these sites.
“Because not all of these products have been finalized and many aren’t yet built at all, we’ll be able to use your comments to help influence our product development,” Schnitt said.

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