Free tool reveals all about Facebook app privacy

For those bewildered by the privacy issues surrounding Facebook apps – and let’s face it, who isn’t? – there’s a new FCC-endorsed service available to rate them.

Research firm PrivacyChoice says its Privacyscore for Facebook makes clear which apps protect users’ privacy and which don’t, and tells users if they’ll be tracked, and by whom.

“Hundreds of millions of people use Facebook apps every day, sharing personal profile information widely across thousands of app providers,” says founder and CEO Jim Brock.

“Each app provider has its own privacy policies, which in many cases lack even minimal assurances. Our research also revealed that those apps bring in scores of third-party tracking companies, which in many cases also lack basic protections, choices and oversight.”

The firm’s also published research comparing the Privacyscores of the top app publishers based on scans of their most popular apps.

Playdom gets the most favorable rating, 93 out of 100, with Electronic Arts second at 91.  Other popular app publishers did less well, with Zynga at 82 and K-Factor Media at 72. The average Privacyscore was 78. 

“By publishing this information in real-time, we’ve created the first privacy barometer for the Facebook app universe. We now have an objective way to measure progress toward better app privacy practices all across publishers and ad companies collecting user data through Facebook.”

PrivacyScore’s been endorsed by the FCC, which is calling for greater transparency in the communication of privacy practices to users.

“The industry is moving toward a Do Not Track standard premised on a high degree of trust in compliance by tracking companies,” says Brock.

“Tools like Privacyscore help web users, websites and advertisers understand which companies have stepped up to compliance and which have not. The success of industry-wide privacy efforts depends on the kind of transparency that Privacyscore provides.”