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Facebook Cancels Phone And Address Access

David Gilbert


Facebook Cancels Phone And Address Access

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


January 18, 2011, 6:18 pm

"Of course a lot most of these issues have been down to the individual users own decisions not to make their profiles private."

True, the "USERS BEWARE" but given the nature of Facebook it should have by default privacy setting. Especially, after repeated debcales with user privacy issues!!!

I know that from professional experience the default settings would be user only unless the system manager was laxed or the policy was such that it had some other default settings but the user could reset them.

Take my firewall each time it is updated it asks if I want to retain my OLD settings or start from scratch. The latter means each request for access to the internet or other is alerted to the user and you have choice of temporary or permanent setting of the decision.

Obviously the Facebook founders aren't such geniuses after all! ;-)


January 19, 2011, 2:07 am

Give them credit, Facebook are paying attention to what their users want. They have to of course, to maintain the momentum they have (beautiful scene in The Social Network where Zuckerberg rants about the consequences of Facebook being unavailable for even 1 minute, after his funding is frozen).


January 19, 2011, 10:55 pm

Paying attention to what their users want? I wouldn't go so far as to say that. It's almost as if Facebook makes everything public so 3rd parties can gather TONS of info, and then say "oops, our bad"-but the information has already been leaked. They haven't learned anything related to privacy since day 1. Again, the old saying goes "Don't put anything online you wouldn't want the whole world to know about".

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