Is Facebook Now PROTECTING Your Privacy?

Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is one of seven Internet companies to sign a pledge that makes developers in its app store more accountable regarding sharing of consumers’ personal information. Programs in the social network’s upcoming online marketplace will be required to have a written privacy policy detailing how they collect, use, and share consumer data.

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT), Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM), and Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) are the other signatories to the pledge that was an effort of California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, but Facebook is the only one enforcing the rule.

Starting next week, Google will show users links to developers’ privacy policies when they browse apps on Google Play. HP has been asking developers to include a hyperlink to their app’s privacy policy since May, while RIM said it was in the process of doing so. However, Facebook’s App Center will mandate that apps have a clear privacy policy.

While this particular ruling will only be applicable on users in California, Harris hopes to have far-reaching consequences. “If we can strengthen privacy protections here, we can benefit consumers around the world,” she told LA Times. “App users should know what personal information is collected, how it is used, and with whom it is shared. If they know all of that, then they will have the tools and the ability to protect themselves.”

The Wall Street Journal found in a 2010 survey that of 101 popular apps for the iPhone and Android phones, 56 transmitted the device ID to third parties without the user’s knowledge. Forty-seven of them sent the phone’s location, five sent age, gender, and other personal details, and 45 didn’t provide any privacy policies.

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