Social networking site Facebook announced plans to give users more control over how their information is shared with third party developers, as well as offering a clearer option for users to deactivate or delete their accounts.
“Giving people more control over what information they share and with whom is at the heart of how we think about privacy at Facebook,” the company wrote in its blog. “As people better understand how information is shared and gain more control over it, they become more comfortable and confident in sharing.”
Canada’s decision to go toe-to-toe with Facebook over privacy policies is expected to have ramifications for other social networking sites (like MySpace) as well as socially-aware services like Twitter and Flickr. In Facebook’s case, the changes will impact users in many countries, not just Canada.
Among several criticisms of Facebook’s operations regarding user privacy, Canada’s privacy commissioner had maintained that Facebook’s policy of retaining data from deactivated accounts for an indefinite period was a violation of Canadian privacy laws. Facebook maintained that the majority of deactivated accounts wind up being re-activated later, and retaining the data was a convenience feature for users who decide to come back to Facebook.