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The Complete Guide for Facebook Developers: How to add a Privacy Policy to your Apps

When you read through the Facebook Platform Policies, you’ll notice that every Facebook App that stores, uses or receives data should have a privacy policy that tells users what user data you are going to use and how you will use, display, share or transfer data.

When you have a Facebook Tab inside your Facebook fan page, you might be “transferring data” as well and thus need to add a Privacy Policy to your apps. How do you know whether you should add a privacy policy? And if so, how do you add one to your Facebook Application? This guide explains it all.

Does your application need a Privacy Policy?

Simply put, you will need to enter a Privacy Policy URL to your Application when your application (or Facebook Tab, which is also an application) requests data from Facebook. How do you know whether your application does that?

It’s simple. When users will see the following screen somewhere in your application, you are requesting data from Facebook:

Note for WP4FB 3.0 users: When you’re using any of the viral features under the “authorization screen” options (e.g. FriendGate etc), the sweepstake feature or when you’re collecting your fans’ email addresses, you are collecting data and should have a privacy policy.

What happens if my apps don’t have a Privacy Policy?

It’s not likely that Facebook will shut your apps down without warning you, so no worries yet. However, Facebook did send out quite a few emails last night to users that haven’t filled out their Privacy Policy URL’s yet. They emailed the following:

Your app [name] (123456) is missing a privacy policy URL in the Auth Dialog, or your privacy policy URL is returning an error (see Platform Policy II.3: https://developers.facebook.com/policy/).

Please update the privacy policy URL field in the App Dashboard on https://developers.facebook.com/apps/123456/appdetails to avoid enforcement action. Also, please review your app to ensure you are displaying your privacy policy on your website or within your app.

If you need support to create your own privacy policy you can refer to these external resources: http://www.applicationprivacy.org/platform-requirements/facebook/.

In other words, they will send a reminder if they feel you should have a Privacy Policy. You could enter it directly, and you can also decide to wait until you get this email as well.

When you go to the Developers’ Apps section you’ll also see the following warning as soon as Facebook determined that you should enter a Privacy Policy URL:

 

How do I write a Privacy Policy?

When you think you need a Privacy Policy (or when you got an email from Facebook telling you should), you’ll need to get your hands on a privacy policy. On record, I want to say that it’s always best to hire someone with legal knowledge to help you in this matter.

Of-record, I can say that there are various tools and websites that can help you creating a Privacy Policy that will be suitable for your Facebook Apps. Facebook even recommends this, since they’re pointing to this page. There are also various (free) privacy policies generators online, such as generateprivacypolicy.comfreeprivacypolicy.com.

Please note that I’m not a lawyer and I don’t have any legal experience. When you want to be certain, please seek advice from someone with legal knowledge.

How to add your Privacy Policy to your Facebook App?

When you’re using WP4FB 3.0, this step will be easy. The first thing you need to do is creating a new WP4FB-page and copy-pasting the privacy policy into this page. You can simply name the page “Privacy Policy”, for example.

Once done, you need to copy the URL/link of that page (e.g. http://yourdomain.com/wp4fb/privacy-policy/).

Navigate to the Facebook App section and start editing the application by clicking on “Edit App”. In the left-menu, click on “App Details” (see image on the right).

There you’ll see a field called “Privacy Policy URL”. Paste the link you copied earlier (the link to your privacy policy) here and hit Save.

That’s it! That’s all you need to do 🙂

Whenever you get an email from Facebook saying you need to add a Privacy Policy to your apps, you now know how to get it done.

Have a great day!

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