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Facebook steps up to provide privacy for its users

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stepped up on Wednesday at the Facebook F8 meeting for software developers in San Francisco to introduce the new feature “Anonymous Login”. This feature is in testing explained Zuckerberg to the audience, according to the New York Times post today. Facebook has been criticized in the past as being reactive and not proactive to the consumer and what should be done to handle the consumers’ protection and service.

This is a step in the right direction to provide consumers with the ability to choose how and when to share their information, log into apps without giving sign in information such as an email. They should be able to choose from the options on how to protect privacy.

Zuckerberg announced at the event that the Facebook members, all 1.3 billion, will have that ability to log in to other websites and mobile apps through their Facebook account and maintain privacy. They no longer will it be necessary to expose much of their personal detail information onto the website or on the app they choose to view.

It will be a way to login and try out an app but not give your personal details. It is a small effort to meet months of requests from Facebook members to address privacy issues and the onslaught of media reports about usage for advertisers to gather demographics.

The data will still be collected as to which apps are used but not the personal information. It allows for tracking of media interest in particular services and products. Not everyone need be informed that you were looking at a particular product as if you were endorsing it.

There were abuses targeting people to sign onto a particular game. Also, parents complained that their underage teens were giving free endorsements. Law suits were filed in California last Jan. over the matter or mining personal data for profit and there is a class action lawsuit with the Federal Trade Commission in 2012. The FTC suit is still in court despite Facebook’s attempts to settle with a monetary amount to Facebook member users.

Social log-ins enhanced the problem and prevention of privacy last year. Media users found it easier to log-in to an app via a social media site such as Facebook. This accounted for 10 billion entries last year and 10 billion pieces of personal information.

Patrick Salyer, chief executive of Gigya, a consulting firm which manages about 700 companies social media stated that in a survey of their clients the concern was that the, “number one thing they were afraid was their data being sold.” The next concern of their clients was that data would be spammed.

Mark Wilson of Fast Company writes:

“Facebook Anonymous Login is a bit like Google's Incognito browsing they introduced inside Chrome. Except, again, it doesn't appear to be 100% anonymous because Facebook still sees the user going anonymous to check out an app. That would be a bit like Chrome keeping you logged into YouTube when you're browsing in Incognito mode.”

"Nearby Friends" rollout by Facebook in April gives members the option to turn on their smartphones for contact with friends only when it is chosen to broadcast their location. These steps have been in development for two years by Facebook. It is major effort to address the privacy issue that Facebook began after the lawsuit start in 2012. The additional privacy issues last year enhanced by the NSA documents has only hastened Facebook to come forward and be proactive in its position on privacy.

“We need to do everything we can to put people first and give the tools they trust to sign in and trust your apps,” said Zuckerberg on Wednesday at the meeting with software developers.

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