Privacy has always been a problem for Facebook and its users, its privacy support was either way too cluttered, or filled with holes. Besides this new product, almost all of their other last couple of products had been inspired from Google+’s services. Take for example the Facebook Lists which is Circles but much more complicated and it feels crammed in the service (like how it was with Skype integration in response to Google+ Hangouts). When it came out, I gave it a try to see if it’s any good and came to regret it. Besides the part that it started spamming me with friend updates, which I thought was the Wall’s job, I found out that I rarely used them anyway, everything I posted being visible and meant for my entire friend list.
But Facebook Home comes as a nice surprise from the social giant. The lock sreen idea and the hovering button that puts you at a click away from your chat with your friends seem really cool. This of course if you use Facebook Chat instead of Whatsapp or other messaging services. If you want to read more of Facebook Home head on to this article.
We are going to talk about the privacy concerns that having such an integrated experience employs. Facebook being probably used to users having second thoughts about their newly released products, published a press release two days ago (which you can read here).
Among all the obvious and necessary data it needs to collect, which need to be clearly specified to cover them in case of a lawsuit (things like sending to Facebook the fact that you liked a picture or commented on a post), they also mention that the launcher app will make a list of all your installed apps appearing in the app launcher, information which they keep in an identifiable form for 90 days, after which they basically remove the user’s name and other personal info from the list. Why would they need your identification I can’t say, but the reason which it collects the list of installed apps may be to survey the way in which the launcher behaves along with other apps and environments, and make app usage statistics.
Besides that, they try to assure people that the launcher will not spy on what you’re doing in other apps, but they do mention that Home can see you accessing the app. Whether or not it sends this usage statistic, they do not say.
I’m not such a big consumer of Facebook any more, me being one of those “Can we all just start using Google+ instead?” demographic, but I think I will probably install it mostly out of curiousity.