Facebook Home, privacy and you

by Heather Kelly, CNN  |  published on April 6, 2013

Facebook and online privacy: For several years now, it’s been hard to talk about one without talking about the other.

And Facebook’s latest offering, called Home, is no exception.

Facebook Home is an Android app that acts like a skin, updating the standard Android mobile operating system with a more modern, Facebooky decor. The Android home screen is replaced with a graphic version of the Facebook news feed that automatically flips through the latest happenings from your friends. The phone’s home page has additional Facebook features for posting to the site and communicating with friends.

Facebook Home is a more convenient way for heavy Facebook users to use the social network’s services. It is also a more powerful tool for Facebook to potentially collect information about a person, and it gives the company more ways and places to serve up ads.

This is a tricky balancing act for Facebook, which makes the majority of its revenue on advertising. Knowing more information about a person means Facebook can better target ads to them, and make more money.

Some pundits and privacy experts are already raising concerns about the potential for data grabs by Facebook. Om Malik of the site GigaOm says, “this application erodes any idea of privacy. If you install this, then it is very likely that Facebook is going to be able to track your every move, and every little action.”

And Parker Higgins, an activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told Digital Trends: “They will get information about who you’re calling, how often, and how long you’re speaking to them. That’s a lot of information, and combined with the rest of your Facebook communications, (it) could paint a very clear picture of your private life.”

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