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Across the pond, European privacy regulators could be about to throw a spanner into the works of attempts by social networking sites like Facebook to find new ways to increase profits as they try to restrict the way internet groups release personal data. The European move marks the first attempt by regulators to address the “open” Internet platforms that the social networks, led by Facebook, have rushed to create, The Financial Times reports. “By letting other applications ride on top of their systems, tapping into personal data about their members, the networks have sought both to tie in users for longer and create money-making opportunities.”

However, regulators say tighter rules are needed to protect personal data given to these third-party developers. In particular, they believe developers should be subject to tough European Union privacy and data protection rules, even when the companies concerned are located far from Europe.

At the same time, they argue that many corporate marketers who have turned to new forms of social media as a way to reach consumers should also be subjected to stiffer regulations. Given the growing importance of applications used on social networks, the rules amount to “a road map for their business future”, Jeff Chester, a US privacy advocate, tells The Financial Times. “Users don’t know their information is being collected and used,” by third parties, he added.

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