If you like Facebook and are hooked on to it, then Facebook Home could well be one of the best things you would have heard in the tech industry for a while. However, one main concern that just about everybody had as Facebook announced Home was Privacy. Facebook has been blamed in the past for not being the most secure service out there and these fears were aggravated as Home was announced.
It was feared that the application would collect anonymous data regarding a person’s location or his interaction with other apps built in to the phone. Another concern was if Facebook Home can be undone and removed from the phone and what are the features that can be turned on or off. For example, what if I do not want to be bombarded with a million pictures on my Lockscreen of dumb people throwing up after a kiddie party or standing in a childish pseudo loving pose wearing sun glasses seeking all the attention? Well, Facebook has answered all the questions regarding the privacy of Home, and the good news is, it is not as bad as initially feared. Here are the questions and their answers as answered by Facebook:
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.
All and all, we are delighted that Facebook have responded and clarified the situation, and now we can just not wait till the 12th of April to get our hands dirty with Home. Watch this space as more develops on Facebook Home.