Facebook execs address privacy concerns of Open Graph

Facebook execs stress that the new open graph platform doesn't compromise user privacy because individual setting still call the shots.
Written by Sam Diaz, Inactive

If there's something that Facebook doesn't want to compromise with its new Open Graph platform, it's user privacy. So, it's no wonder that many of the questions during a press Q&A with Facebook execs at the f8 conference centered around clarifications of just what gets shared and what doesn't.

To be clear: individual privacy settings rule. What that means is, if there's something that you share with friends only, those will be the only people to see it. If you share certain things with "everyone," then anyone can see it. At the same time, third-party sites that are embedding Facebook's new social tools on their sites aren't seeing anything about you that you're not allowing them to see.

Can they access those photos from your weekend in Vegas? No, not unless they ask you specifically and you give them permission.

What about your Yelp reviews? Can, say, Pandora see them? If you allow those reviews to be seen by the general public - and chances are you do - then, sure, Pandora can see them - not that they necessarily want to, but...

In the end, the Facebook community won't be seeing many changes to their experiences, aside from finding "Like" buttons on sites across the web. The developers are the ones who will notice the big changes. Facebook has streamlined some development tools - including the killing of the "Facebook Connect" name - to make things run more smoothly for them.

Among the policies being changed was one that didn't allow developers to store or cache user data for more than 24 hours. That policy is being eliminated - but it doesn't change anything about the user's experience or privacy. It just makes life easier for the developer and third-party site.

Of course, all of this is a big deal for the partner sites, too. With this new platform, they're now becoming part of this huge, engaging network of 400 million people (and growing) who spend a lot of time interacting with others. Bringing that interaction to their own sites is a big plus for those sites, too.

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