James Mayes

Blog: Facebook’s latest privacy changes

In Facebook, Social Media on January 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm

You’ll be well aware, I’m sure, that Facebook is getting pretty adept at third-party app integration and mobile technology. They have apps for the major mobile operating systems and the integration between your Facebook friends and your own phone book is getting tighter all the time.

Facebook also continues to change the way in which it works with third-party developers. These range from the major online game builders such as Zynga (think Farmville), down to small (sometimes individual) developers. When you add an app to your Facebook account, you are required to accept certain terms – which vary depending on the app and the developer in question.

www.facebook.comFacebook has now allowed developers to request access to your personal address and phone number.

A spokeswoman for Facebook confirmed that developers could now get access to this detail, but that “you need to explicitly choose to share your data before any app or website can access it” – so the choice is yours. But how many of us read the details before accepting each app? What level of scrutiny to Facebook undertake on the developers who are allowed to ask for such information?

These and other questions resulted in Sophos (a well-reputed security firm) suggesting users remove addresses and phone numbers from their Facebook accounts immediately: “Shady app developers will find it easier than ever before to gather even more personal information from users”. www.sophos.comThe full advice page from Sophos can be found here.

The problem for me is simply that many people using Facebook don’t read the terms when they add an app to their profile. We’ve seen a link, we want to do something, we trust Facebook with huge amounts of personal data already, so click, click, click – it’s done.

Personally, my mobile number is pretty public so I don’t mind that. My home address is different though – so Facebook now just lists my home town. If you want to adjust or remove the information you have on Facebook, go to your Profile, click the Info tab (in the left hand column, just below your Profile picture), then scroll down to Contact Information – right at the bottom. You can then click the option to Edit.

Credit: My thanks to Wendy Jacob for the Sophos link on Facebook Best Practice link.

  1. […] try to keep an eye on the apps I install or authorise – after all, they all represent a potential security risk.  Even so, I was surprised to find 65 non-Facebook applications can access my profile. All were […]

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