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Facebook Q & A : Stop worrying about Home invading your privacy !


By Noel Young, Correspondent

April 7, 2013 | 5 min read

Worried about privacy on Facebook's new gateway app Home on your Android phone?

Zuckerberg at the 'Home'launch

Facebook is worried that you might be - needlessly.

One commentator thought Facebook might be able to collect even more information about users because it would now have easy access to what apps people use, what phone calls they make, and who they chat via Facebook "chat heads."

So In a Q&A released over the weekend Facebook tried to take the heat out of privacy concerns.

"Home doesn't change anything related to your privacy settings on Facebook and your privacy controls will work the same with Home as they do everywhere else on Facebook," the company said.

Facebook has been in hot water in the past with the US Federal Trade Commission for deceiving users about their privacy policy. So this time they are taking no chances .

In a Q&A emailed to users, the social network said that Home will act just "like other parts of Facebook" and will not collect information about what users do in non-Facebook applications.

"Home will only see how you interact with Home itself," wrote Facebook privacy execs Michael Richter and Erin Egan.

So here is the Q and A:

Q: Do I have to use Home to access Facebook on Android?

A: No. Home is a new way to experience Facebook, and we hope people enjoy using it. But you won't get Home unless you specifically choose to do so -- either by downloading Home from the Play Store or by purchasing a phone with Home preinstalled.

Q: Do I have to continue using Home after I install it?

A: No. You can easily turn off Home in your Home Settings. If you like Home but don't want it to appear as your lock screen, you have that option as well.

Q: What information does Home collect?

A: Like other parts of Facebook, Home collects information when you interact with the service, such as liking or commenting on a post or sending a message. Home also may collect other information about how you use it. For example, Facebook maintains a list of the apps that you have in the Home app launcher. We store this information in identifiable form for 90 days and use it to provide the service and improve how it works.

For devices that come with Home preinstalled, Home can display system notifications, meaning that it will show notifications from apps on your phone. Since these notifications appear in Home, Facebook collects information about the notification (such as which app is generating them) but not the content of the notification itself. We remove identifying information from this data after 90 days.

Q: Does Home collect my location?

A: Facebook Home doesn't use location in any way that's different from the Facebook app you already have on your Android phone. You can learn about how location works across Facebook in our Data Use Policy and Help Center.

Q: Can I turn off location services altogether?

A: Yes, just as with any other app, you can control the location permission in your phone's settings.

Q: Does Home collect information about what I do in non-Facebook applications?

A: No. Home will only see how you interact with Home itself. For example, Facebook could see that you launched a map application using the app launcher, but Facebook would not receive information about what directions you searched for or any other activity within the app itself.

Of course, some apps already are Facebook-enabled so that you can share your activity within the app back to Facebook. This kind of integration existed long before we launched Home, and apps that have it will tell you if it is available.

Q: How can I find out more about how my data is used?

A: The data that we receive through Home is covered by Facebook's Data Use Policy, which people can view before they activate Home. You also can find more information about Home specifically by reviewing our Home frequently asked questions, which are available in our Help Center and through the Home login screen.

Facebook did admit it would collect information about which apps show notifications to users, "but not the content of the notification itself. We remove identifying information from this data after 90 days."

The company also reassured users that it would not be collecting any location data that is any different from the location data it already collects. "Just as with any other app, you can control the location permission in your phone's settings," Facebook said.

Last word , repeated, from Facebook for people still worried. "You can easily turn off Home in your Home settings."


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