Monday, April 22, 2013

Facebook Home: Is user privacy a concern?

With the announcement of Facebook Home for Android and the HTC First, HTC’s Facebook phone, people now have a chance to use the widely popular social networking site in a whole new way. They will be able to send messages to their friends and check their News Feed directly from their phone’s home screen without even opening the Facebook app.

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While the new Android launcher’s features may eventually win over avid Facebook users, tech experts, especially those who attended Facebook’s April 4 event in Menlo Park, California, think that Facebook Home is only a gimmick and that, knowing Facebook, there might be privacy problems that can crop up in the future, such as GPS location tracking services that passively and continuously run on the phone in order to send location-based advertising to users.

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However, that fear may be unfounded, as reports that Facebook has confirmed that Home will not be actively tracking users’ GPS location, even on the HTC First, where the launcher is built right into the phone’s operating system. Furthermore, data on the activities of other applications, such as Foursquare check-ins, will not be seen by Facebook. Still, location-based ads can and will be offered to users if they use Facebook to check-in to a location.

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Despite some privacy concerns, there are people who believe that Facebook Home is a powerful software that can potentially disrupt the telecom industry.

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