Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Facebook allows app developers access to user's phone numbers

Facebook seems to have opened a fresh can of worms as far as its commitment to protecting user privacy is concerned. The social networking giant has now allowed third-party app developers access to sensitive user data, including their phone numbers and home addresses. Even though the feature is firmly in control of users, the move is slammed by security watchdog Sophos.

Facebook made the announcement of the user privacy tweak in an update on its developer blog. Facebook said it has made a "user’s address and mobile phone number accessible (to developers) as part of the User Graph object. It means adding Facebooks apps in the future will mean surrendering your phone number and address to them. Users still have to give permission to third-party Facebook app developers to access this information.

According to a Sophos security expert, this fresh user privacy move from Facebook could herald a new level of danger for Facebook users. "Given the prevalence of rogue scam applications already on Facebook, it still sounds like a recipe for disaster," said Graham Cluley, Senior Technology Consultant at Sophos.
It is true Facebook's track record in handling user privacy isn't great, Mark Zuckerberg himself slammed critics with Facebook's new privacy settings back in May last year. Facebook is also riddled with a lot of rogue scam apps -- 419 scam, McDonald's phishing survey, Coca Cola viral video, and many others.

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