***Facebook has halted the ability to share address and phone information to app developers. Read more here.***
When you’re as big as Facebook, any change involving privacy becomes controversial. However, the mega social network has just announced that it will start allowing app developers access to customer’s home address and phone number(s).
No matter how you slice it, this is likely going to become another issue that could once again raise the level of discourse about privacy around the world.
Here’s how the sharing of this new information could happen: a Facebook app developer can build an app that requires or requests your address or phone number (or both).
The only saving grace to this problem is that you have to explicitly grant the app permission to access this data. (As seen below)
The new policy was announced on a Facebook blog post on Friday evening here.
Sophos, an Internet security firm, warned in a blog post that the change could “herald a new level of danger for Facebook users.” Sophos elaborates:
“Now, shady app developers will find it easier than ever before to gather even more personal information from users. You can imagine, for instance, that bad guys could set up a rogue app that collects mobile phone numbers and then uses that information for the purposes of SMS spamming or sells on the data to cold-calling companies. The ability to access users’ home addresses will also open up more opportunities for identity theft, combined with the other data that can already be extracted from Facebook users’ profiles.”
It might not all be doom and gloom though, All Facebook makes a case for saving users time when registering for websites: “Rather than having to fill out the information over and over with each new application that you install, the social network enables users to accomplish the exact same thing in a matter of clicks.”
A Facebook spokesperson told the Guardian:
On Facebook you have absolute control over what information you share, who you share it with and when you want to remove it. Developers can now request permission to access a person’s address and mobile phone number to make applications built on Facebook more useful and efficient. You need to explicitly choose to share your data before any app or website can access it and no private information is shared without your permission. As an additional step for this new feature, you’re not able to share your friends’ address or mobile information.
As always, the best way to prevent your personal information from being shared is to simply not share that information on Facebook.