Social-networking phenomenon Facebook has today announced that it will change the way in which the site operates to help provide better control over the information of over 250 million users worldwide.
The announcement comes after a lengthy review of Facebook's privacy policies conducted by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.
Last month, Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart stated that Facebook is in breach of Canadian law by retaining personal user data indefinitely, adding that the site's display of privacy information is "often confusing or incomplete". Canada's Privacy Commissioner has since recommended Facebook make a number of changes to its privacy settings, and the social-networking site has agreed to work on improvements.
"Our productive and constructive dialogue with the Commissioner's office has given us an opportunity to improve our policies and practices in a way that will provide even greater transparency and control for Facebook users," said Elliot Schrage, vice-president of global communications and public policy at Facebook. "We believe that these changes are not only great for our users and address all of the Commissioners' outstanding concerns, but they also set a new standard for the industry."
Addressing third-party privacy concerns, Facebook has announced that it will introduce a permissions model that will require third-party applications to "specify the categories of information they wish to access and obtain express consent from the user before any data is shared."
Despite the promise of improvements, Facebook adds that it could take approximately 12 months to implement the changes.