LONDON (Reuters) - Facebook faces regulatory scrutiny in Ireland, site of its European headquarters, over its handling of personal information, the Financial Times reported on Friday.
The newspaper said the Irish data protection commissioner is to conduct a privacy audit of Facebook's activities outside the United States and Canada after complaints by European and U.S. privacy campaigning groups to the Irish commissioner and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.
The FT reported that Gary Davis, Irish deputy data protection commissioner, said his office would conduct a detailed audit of the group's activities outside the United States and Canada next month.
"This audit will examine the subject matter of the complaint but also will be more extensive and will seek to examine Facebook's compliance more generally with Irish data protection law."
Facebook's European headquarters are in Dublin, which makes its operations outside the United States and Canada subject to Irish and European data protection legislation.
Facebook was unavailable for immediate comment.
(Reporting by Stephen Mangan; Editing by Gary Hill)
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Take a look at some of the changes implemented by the rollout of the "new" Facebook.
The revamped profile, called Timeline, will look completely different, with a new focus on photos and events. The user chooses what activities they'd like to share in their continuous stream, highlighting moments from his or her life--from present day, back to the first day he or she was on on Facebook and before.
Users can now interact in new ways with content posted on Facebook. In addition to "Liking" videos, articles and posts about what your friends enjoy, you can now take part in these activities with your friends in real-time. These changes are made possible through Facebook's major update to its Open Graph platform.
Facebook is partnering up with a whole bunch of websites and app-makers to bring content that can be shared and consumed on the Facebook platform. Notable app genres include music apps like Spotify and Rhapsody, streaming video apps for Netflix and Hulu and news apps for the New York Times and--you guessed it--The Huffington Post. Facebook's "new class of social apps" can post updates to your Timeline automatically. In addition Mashable reports Apps no longer have to ask for permission to post content to Facebook over and over again. Instead, a new Facebook permissions screen explains exactly what type of stories will be shared the first time you give an app permission to post to your Facebook. Once completed, it will no longer have to ask for permission (Pictured above, a user's timeline with updates from his apps on display.)
The new Open Graph brings deeper video integration to the Facebook platform. For example, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings explained at f8 (and in a subsequent blog post) that users will be able to watch movies together--right from Facebook--with the Netflix movie streaming in a separate window. Though Hastings noted that this concurrent watching isn't allowed in the United States, he said that a bill is currently in Congress to legalize it. Other streaming sites like Hulu, YouTube, Daily Motion, VEVO and more will all allow for concurrent watching with Facebook friends. (Pictured above: Watching "Glee" on Hulu via Facebook.)
Facebook's new revamp aims to help users discover new music. "As part of its larger entertainment initiative, Facebook will launch a music dashboard, which will display music-specific notifications and updates, and also show which songs are currently popular within one's network of friends," according to Read Write Web. For example, a partnership with Spotify will let you see what music your friends are listening to in real-time. When a friend starts listening to a new song, an update will appear in your Facebook Ticker. Clicking on that update will let you stream the song in a music player. Other music partners include Rhapsody, turntable, Songza, mixcloud, Slacker Radio, Rdio, Deezer, Mog, tunein, iHeartRadio, earbits and Soundcloud.
Now, when a friend posts a news article or story they've enjoyed, you can read it within Facebook. A few of the participating publications include Digg, Fipboard, Gawker, The Washington Post, USA Today and others. According to TechCrunch, Yahoo will play an integral part in curating the stories that your friends are reading and sharing. "Yahoo has formed integrations with the social network in the past with its products, but we're told this is one of the most in-depth implementations to date," writes TechCrunch. (Pictured above, a screenshot of what it looks like to read a newspaper article in Facebook via The Washington Post.)
Many apps will be available starting today, though the new Timeline profile will not come out for "a few weeks," according to an official Facebook blog post.