Facebook to share data with Instagram, loosen email rules

Wed Nov 21, 2012 4:01pm EST
 

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc is proposing to combine user data with that of recently acquired photo-sharing service Instagram, and will loosen restrictions on emails between members of the social network.

Facebook also said on Wednesday it is proposing to scrap a 4-year old process that can allow the social network's roughly 1 billion users to vote on changes to its policies and terms of services.

Facebook said it may share information between its own service and other businesses or affiliates that Facebook owns to "help provide, understand, and improve our services and their own services."

One of Facebook's most significant affiliate businesses is Instagram, a photo-sharing service for smartphone users that Facebook acquired in October for roughly $715 million.

The change could open the door for Facebook to build unified profiles of its users that include people's personal data from its social network and from Instagram, similar to recent moves by Google Inc. In January, Google said it would combine users' personal information from its various Web services - such as search, email and the Google+ social network - to provide a more customized experience.

Google's unified data policy raised concerns among some privacy advocates and regulators, who said it was an invasion of people's privacy. A group of 36 U.S. state attorney generals also warned in a letter to Google that consolidating so much personal information in one place could put people at greater risk from hackers and identity thieves.

Facebook also wants to loosen the restrictions on how members of the social network can contact other members using the Facebook email system.

Facebook said it wanted to eliminate a setting for users to control who can contact them. The company said it planned to replace the "Who can send you Facebook messages" setting with new filters for managing incoming messages.   Continued...

 
A photo illustration shows the applications Facebook and Instagram on the screen of an iPhone in Zagreb April 9, 2012. REUTERS/Antonio Bronic