Facebook is no stranger to privacy concerns and has tried many times (with varying degrees of success) to accommodate the needs of the company, users, business owners, and third-party app developers. Needless to say, juggling the various concerns and needs of each group is not easy. On April 30, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg announced a new feature that would allow Facebook users to login into some 3rd-party apps anonymously, along with other features that enhance privacy. This may seem simple enough, but there are some nuances that consumers and business owners need to be aware of. This posts will discuss Facebook’s new privacy options, and what they mean for marketers, business owners, and everyday users.
In response to growing concerns over privacy, Facebook has changed the way that users interact with apps. Specifically, it gives users the ability to limit how much information apps get and to do trials of some apps without giving any data to the app.
“People tell us they’re sometimes worried about sharing information with apps and want more choice and control over what personal information apps receive,” the company stated in a press release. “Today’s announcements put power and control squarely in people’s hands.”
In fact, Facebook announced three changes that should give users more control over how much information they give out in special circumstances. Aside from the ability to login anonymously and not share any information during trials, there is a new version of the Facebook Login that will make it quicker and easier to login and set permissions for apps they use regularly. Finally, the company has redesigned the control panel to make it easier for users to manage all of their apps and the privacy settings for each.
“We know some people are scared of pressing this blue button” for social login, Zuckerberg said at a conference for Facebook developers. “If you’re using an app that you don’t completely trust … then you don’t want to give it a lot of permissions.”
Though users wouldn’t be able to completely block all the information that app developers can see, there is a lot of room for users to make their information more secure. For example, users can make it so that apps can’t see their friend’s birthday data or the items they’ve liked on other pages.
For marketers and app developers, the changes means that the there will be less data to work with when targetings ads for app users and curtails the practice of using Facebook user’s data to market things to the friends of users. However, since the changes to the system will encourage more people to try apps for the first time and continue to use apps despite their privacy concerns, their audiences will grow. And it still remains to be seen how many users choose to employ the new features.
The new changes also will help to increase Facebook’s share of social logins, when users login to a site or app using their Facebook credentials. Currently, Facebook has the highest market share of social logins on desktop, mobile, and apps. Twitter and Google+, the other major contenders for social logins, may make similar adjustments to their platforms. To allow Facebook such a huge advantage on privacy issues wouldn’t be in their best interests.
It’s important to note that none of these new changes mean people are logging into Facebook anonymously. The new feature simply limits the amount of data that 3rd-party app developers can see during certain trials of an app. Facebook still has all of your data, but they have given users more control over how it is shared with others.
“It’s not anonymous login,” explained Brian Blau, a Gartner analyst, in an interview with CBS News. “You’re just trying out an app without identifying your Facebook identity.”
In a world that’s increasingly wary of how data is used, Facebook’s new login features will certainly be a boon to the company. Even if it requires some adjustments from app developers and marketers, the increase in users and the prolonged viability of Facebook are two ends that are worth the means.