Update, Thursday, March 22:
Facebook reached out to us to discuss how we characterized their settings and to tell us that our original blog post overstated the scope of data sharing with app developers. What we described is an accurate characterization of what appears in Facebook’s settings.
What Facebook told us is that what we have written below is only true generally for third-party apps prior to 2015. Again, this isn’t clear in the user-facing tools and we think this needs to be fixed.
If what Facebook told us is accurate, Facebook users are sharing less data with app developers today. We understand that Facebook is trying to clarify these settings for the user. We appreciate that Facebook is engaging with stakeholders, and we want to see further commitment on bringing greater transparency to this issue.
The headlines speak for themselves: Up to 50 million Facebook users had their information used by Cambridge Analytica, a private company, without their knowledge or consent. That’s not okay.
Facebook is facing a lot of questions right now, but one thing is clear: Facebook needs to act to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
Mozilla is asking Facebook to change its app permissions and ensure users’ privacy is protected by default. And we’re asking users to stand with us by signing our petition.
Facebook’s current app permissions leave billions of its users vulnerable without knowing it. If you play games, read news or take quizzes on Facebook, chances are you are doing those activities through third-party apps and not through Facebook itself. The default permissions that Facebook gives to those third parties currently include data from your education and work, current city and posts on your timeline.
We’re asking Facebook to change its policies to ensure third parties can’t access the information of the friends of people who use an app.
At Mozilla, our approach to data is simple: no surprises, and user choice is critical. We believe in that not just because it makes for good products, but because trust is a key factor in keeping the internet healthy.
The internet is transformative because it’s a place to explore, transact, connect, and create. Trust is key to that. We’re pushing Facebook to improve its privacy practices not just because of its 2 billion users, but also for the health of the internet broadly.
Ashley Boyd is Mozilla’s VP, Advocacy