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Building Trust and Protecting User Privacy

June 27, 2008ByBenjamin Ling

Privacy is at the core of Facebook.

Because we provide users with rich privacy controls and respect their choices, users feel safe using Facebook to share their information with their friends. By opening up Facebook through Platform, developers have the opportunity to innovate on top of this information. In exchange, developers commit to treating user information with the same respect that users expect of Facebook. Our Developer Terms of Service strictly limit use of user data and serves as guidelines to these expectations.

Facebook works to help clarify standards and maintain user trust in applications available on Facebook through technical and manual means. Recently, we suspended Top Friends, one of the most popular applications on Facebook. This application violated user privacy by displaying some profile data to people who should not otherwise have been able to see the information. Though the application developer insists that this violation was not intentional, the seriousness of the violation required us to take immediate action.

We don’t take lightly that millions of users lost their access to this application. Because so many people interact with Top Friends on a daily basis, our immediate action to suspend the application was vital in protecting users and assuring them that their confidence in Facebook and the applications on Facebook Platform are well-placed.

This situation demonstrates the importance for continued vigilance on our part and the part of developers who build applications on Facebook Platform. In the coming weeks, we will be increasing our efforts to educate the developer community about our specific policies and the policies and programs developers need to put in place in order to uphold the guiding principles of Platform.

Facebook Platform is a tremendous opportunity for us as a community to provide great social applications to the world. All of us – Facebook, developers, and users – share a joint responsibility to ensure respectful and transparent experiences on Facebook.