Last night, Pandora announced on their blog that they are taking all their users through a new interface to choose privacy settings for sharing information on its popular music listening site. We think this is a big deal for consumers, and we’re glad to see Pandora taking affirmative steps to put users in control of their privacy.
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A bit of background here: Pandora attracted a lot of attention a couple months ago when they started partnering with Facebook’s new “Instant Personalization” program. Although Pandora users already had “public profiles,” few knew or took advantage of them — most just went to the site to listen to music anonymously. That all changed when Pandora started using Facebook data to identify its members by real names and to publish to a user’s Facebook friends what music he or she was listening to. Many privacy advocates at the time criticized this data sharing and the confusing opt-out structure that users had to go through to avoid sharing information about their music listening tastes.