Facebook Inc. is rolling out a permission feature that requires outside applications and websites to inform its 500 million users how much information they are sharing.
With the new feature, applications have access only to public parts of the profile such as name, profile picture and gender. They will have to seek a user's permission to access private information from a profile.
Facebook first announced the change in August 2009 after privacy officials in Canada complained. The idea is to give users more control over what they share by forcing applications to explicitly ask them before accessing private information.
"In order for these applications and websites to provide social and customized experiences, they need to know a little bit about you," Facebook Chief Technology Officer Bret Taylor wrote in a blog post. "We understand, however, that it's important you also have control over what you're sharing."