Use Facebook? A new setting now shares your data with everyone

At Facebook's f8 conference, founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company was removing restrictions on user data retention within Facebook applications. Previously, the company had a policy where developers couldn't "store and cache any data for more than 24 hours," Zuckerberg said while speaking to the audience of Facebook developers crowded into the San Francisco Design Center on Wednesday. "We're going to go ahead and...get rid of that policy," he said. The audience cheered.

But should Facebook end users cheer this news, too?

The Change is for Developers, "No Effect" on End Users?

For developers, the removal of this technical limitation is great news. Apps had to constantly connect to Facebook's servers in order to refresh their data. Application load speeds were also affected as the apps would have to do this server pinging process upon first launch. Now the data the apps need will already be there - a change that may even result in noticeable performance gains for the end users of the applications.

Yes, Facebook Apps Have Your Data

The new policy, however, brings to light something that your average Facebook user may not have ever known at all: Facebook applications access your personal data.

We've looked at this issue before (see: "What Facebook Quizzes Know About You") after the ACLU put together an awareness campaign surrounding the privacy issues of Facebook applications. Using a sample app, the ACLU's Facebook Quiz, many everyday Facebook users were shocked to find that applications (like quizzes) could access almost everything on a user profile, including hometown, groups you belong to, events attended, favorite books, and more. What's worse is that your profile information becomes available to developers when your friends take the same quiz.

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