Do Facebook's Grand F8 Plans Raise Privacy Concerns?


But with so many features, from the third-party data integration tool Open Graph to the retooled Graph API and a "Like" button, is Facebook doing enough to ensure its security bases are covered, too?

It's a question worth asking following a year of impressive growth for Facebook, but also one of near-relentless criticism for how Facebook appears to play fast and loose with sensitive user information.

Granted, with social networking, much of the security vigilance rests with the users, too -- for starters, they choose how much personal data they make available in their profiles -- but Facebook's new features undoubtedly mean more data moving around in greater quantities to more users.

The new features include Open Graph, which in the way it integrates third party data into Facebook, is effectively an "on steroids" version of Facebook Connect, its predecessor; and Social Plug ins, which layers additional messaging and social networking capabilities into Open Graph.

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There was also, a Microsoft tool that enables Facebook users to share and work on Microsoft Office documents with each other, and a soon-to-be ubiquitous Facebook "Like" button.

Then there's the bizarre case of Facebook Presence, an RFID-based feature that isn't quite the geolocation tool many Facebook observers were anticipating, but at the conference, was given to attendees as a way to check in at various physical areas around the F8 conference.

Not a Foursquare killer, but as TechCrunch and other observers suggested, not exactly insignificant, either, as it relates to Facebook's alleged geolocation plans.

Will Facebook continue to step up its efforts to secure user data and educate users about that data? Earlier this month, the social networking giant updated its Online Safety Center to make it more user friendly and provide advice on Facebook use targeted to different types of users, such as parents, teenagers and law enforcement officials.

A good step, sure, but how long before Facebook finds itself in the same hot water as Google with privacy watchdogs, who earlier this week ripped Google for forging ahead with new products like Google Buzz, but not stopping to make sure it were considering potential security and privacy threats?

The more Facebook unveils, the greater the level of exposure -- of users data to the public, and of Facebook to scrutiny.