Did it ever happen to you that you casually checked into a restaurant or an establishment to receive some perk that comes with checking in, only to realize ten people on Facebook liked it without your knowledge of ever having posted the fact that you were treating yourself to a midday burrito? How about the time you inadvertently sent requests to all your Facebook friends to join you in a mind-numbing albeit very, very cute mobile game?
It would be a stretch to categorize such incidents as harmful or even distasteful, but it certainly doesn’t leave a good taste in your mouth when it feels like you’ve shared a part of your life you weren’t very keen on everyone seeing. That’s about to change as Facebook just announced major upgrades to all third-party apps that they say will give users more control over what they share. As many of us know, the way it was before was that, if we wanted to use an app, we had to hand over, often times reluctantly, a lot of our private information such as list of Friends, your own and friends’ likes and interests. Some apps wouldn’t even let you use the app if you didn’t submit to its will to look through any and all of your information without a clear guideline of just exactly what you were giving them access to.
With this roll out, Facebook is requiring every app to request access to friends’ lists, and the app must go through a screening process by Facebook to be able to ask for more information. Moreover, it is launching a new log-in system where users can edit the info they want to provide, giving them more control over what they share.
These changes came about due to Facebook’s belief in the “long-term health of the ecosystem,” in which it must give users confidence on how their private information is used. In the long run it’s a bid to get more users more comfortable using more apps, but in a connected world where over-sharing is already encouraged, it might not be a bad company direction to give back users a semblance of control.