With all the media and legislative attention on Facebook's privacy practices, it makes sense to consider the impact that may have on your brand if you participate on the network. Is there a reputational risk? Is that risk higher than the perceived rewards? How can you manage those risks?
While Facebook has a rocky track record on privacy, it seems to be moving in the right direction by writing clearer privacy policies and providing more choices regarding users' level of sharing. Because there are multiple ways for your brand to interact with users through Facebook, the privacy implications will vary. The good news is that you can choose a path with privacy risks that best meet your goals.
The first thing to consider is, what do you want to do? What is your overall brand strategy and how does Facebook support that strategy? How much interaction will you need with Facebook users to meet your marketing goals?
A Facebook Page is the least invasive method of interacting with consumers, allowing you to directly communicate with fans—those who "like" you—post news and events, generate dialogue and drive traffic to your website. No personally identifiable information (PII) is exchanged. This is a "privacy-safe" choice. Your Facebook Page should have a stated comment policy (usually in the "info" section or a custom tab) written in user-friendly terms. This should not be written by your lawyers.
Facebook for Websites gives you the ability to connect your website to the Facebook experience. Facebook users can "like" your brand from your website through a social plug-in or log onto your website using Facebook credentials. The login (or Facebook Authentication) gives your site access to users' basic information—name, profile picture, gender, networks, user ID, list of friends and any other information they share with everyone. To receive additional information, such as email, you will have to request additional permission from the user through Facebook.