Party pooper: Facebook mobile privacy

August 19, 2010

At the risk of being a party pooper in today’s rehabilitation of Facebook’s privacy image, I’d like to ask:

Why can’t you see and adjust your privacy settings in the Facebook mobile app?

I hadn’t noticed this until I updated my iPhone app (3.1.1) to check out their new location-based services. As far as I can tell, there’s nothing at all about privacy in the mobile app (or in the settings), not even a link to open your privacy settings in the mobile browser.

Over 150 million people access Facebook via mobile apps, no doubt for many it is their exclusive or primary mode of access. (You can even set up a new account directly through the app.) You would think native privacy settings would be a baseline product requirement for Facebook mobile apps.

It’s not too hard to do — a company called Mobile Distortion has a nice looking step-by-step free app to manage your Facebook privacy settings. Not as elegant perhaps as Reclaim Privacy on your computer, but useful nonetheless.

This seems like a big omission. Am I missing something?

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One Response to “Party pooper: Facebook mobile privacy”


  1. I’m James Jennings, developer of Privacy for Facebook, thanks for the mention! Just wanted to add a couple of things to the conversation:

    1) Privacy for Facebook is now a free app. We continue to be ad-supported, which enables us to continue developing improvements to the app, including auto-updating the app when Facebook releases new privacy settings (this auto-updating does not require a new download through the App Store, allowing us to update our users the same day as new settings become available).

    2) Regarding the new “Places” feature, the applicable privacy settings for this are under the “Sharing on Facebook” section of the options. Users of our app automatically received a notification of this earlier today. However, the “Questions” feature still does not have a privacy setting associated with it; any questions asked or answered reveals your full name, title, employer and profile image to anybody who cares to look.


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