Facebook don’t do themselves any favours when it comes to privacy issues. Ever since the site was launched, people have complained about privacy issues surrounding their profiles. Of course a lot most of these issues have been down to the individual users own decisions not to make their profiles private. However on Friday, Facebook itself decided expanded the information you can share with third-party websites and developers to include your mobile number and address - which it turns out wasn't too clever an idea.
This morning however, following complaints over the weekend, Facebook has temporarily disabled the feature while they “are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so” – something you would have expected from the off. The change would have allowed third party developers to access a user's phone number and home address, if it was already part of their profile, once they agreed to download the app. Because the terms of the change would have been buried in the small print a lot of users would not have known what they were agreeing to.
At the launch of the expansion on Friday, Facebook said some advantages of this service would be to “easily share your address and mobile phone with a shopping site to streamline the checkout process, or sign up for up-to-the-minute alerts on special deals directly to your mobile phone.”
However things didn’t turn out the way it intended and over the weekend Facebook received some “useful feedback” saying the website could make it more obvious when people are granting other websites access to this data. Facebook has now said it is in the process of changing the system and to “ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so.” The blog post adds that it hopes to re-enabled the improved feature in the next few weeks.
Security experts had warned following the enabling of the feature on Friday that it could lead to unscrupulous app developers gaining access to people’s mobile phone numbers without the person’s knowledge.
Source: Facebook Developers Blog