Helen Popkin
updated 7/1/2010 6:59:03 PM ET 2010-07-01T22:59:03

There's a new privacy-disclosure requirement for apps on Facebook, and some users find it has a similar effect as calorie counts printed on a menu: Too much info kills your appetite.

Previously, Facebook users accessing outside applications (games, quizzes, etc.) and websites received a prompt they needed to click, allowing those outside businesses access to their profile information.

As of Wednesday, users presented with a permission prompt are told exactly what parts of their profiles those outside applications will be accessing — photos, interests, friends, e-mail addresses, that kind of stuff. And just like finding out that fancy salad you were about to order is 772 calories, Facebook users are thinking twice.

"That new 'Biggest Fan' app made me say no because I saw what it would access," said Daniel Amerman, this one guy I know from Facebook.

"Yeah, I just quit using all those STUPID applications," Larry Gist, this other guy I know from Facebook, said. "How is that for privacy?"

Here's the thing: Just like that favorite restaurant salad you no longer order now that the 772 calorie count is staring at you from the menu, nothing's really changed. Most outside-party applications on Facebook can still access your profile, and through that, your friends' profiles, once you click "OK." But you can't avoid thinking about it anymore — it's become uncomfortable.

The new disclosure feature is part of the privacy changes Facebook introduced in May in response to outrage over Facebook's increasingly open privacy policy. In a Washington Post column, followed by meetings with the press and government officials, CEO Mark Zuckerberg stressed that his company heard the complaints, and that users are the site's priority, not advertisers.

Advocacy groups remain skeptical of these claims and continue to urge users to take advantage by keeping on top of privacy settings. The new feature gives users more control over access to their profile information, with the ability to block the site's info-sharing profile completely. But if you play games on the site, you still have to allow access to more detailed information in your profile. At least now you know.

"Privacy concerns will always be an issue as long as we're willing to post our information here,"
Nadine Sara, this lady I know from Facebook said. "Facebook will always provide the minimum, but if we believe we're entitled to more than that, we're using the wrong 'social network.'"

Follow Helen A.S. Popkin on Twitter or join her on Facebook. What are you, chicken?

© 2013 msnbc.com Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments