Facebook Privacy and You

Time to get to work on that Facebook profile again and make sure everything is as you want it. Dig through those privacy settings, and ensure that you’re not sharing more than you intended.

In a late posted blog on Facebook, Jeff Bowen (Platform Developer Relations at Facebook) posted:

We are now making a user’s address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object. Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions. These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs.

Paraphrased basically saying that now when you develop your apps for Facebook, you can now get users addresses and mobile phone numbers. So now not only will you be spammed on your wall by games, random ‘questions about you answered by..’ posts and as well as scraping and sharing all of your friends information, they can have your home address to send you mail if they want. Or send you spam text messages or phone calls to your mobile phone. Perhaps ‘accidentally’ subscribing you to a premium phone service just for clicking that ‘Allow’ button when you load up their app for the first time.

Privacy is very much in your hands as a user, but with no notifaction to the userbase about this change for developers, and with a large percentage of the Facebook users already having accepted apps sharing their information; how long until these ups make a ‘critical update’ and soon you’re receiving fliers in the mail to buy Mafia wars or Farmville merchandise? Or worse yet, the information is collected, and sold to a third party advertising site who turns your information over again until it reaches a point that you’re receiving mail, text and phone calls from random companies and places you didn’t give permission to contact you. As one commentor on the blog post pondered, ‘Have you become a data collection site and are no longer a social site.’

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