PSA: Facebook Plans to Share Your Address and Phone Number With Advertisers

facebook logo

We all love Facebook and use it for hours daily to share so much of our lives with our friends and other people we know. And while just like everything else on the internet there are risks to all this sharing, it’s our choice and we can control what information we share, who we share it with and can stop it at any time.

As you’ve probably heard, from time to time Facebook the company has had some interesting “ideas” (for lack of a better word) on how to use all the information we put onto their site to run their business (just think about The Social Network movie for an idea on the sketchy story on how Facebook was created). Obviously, when you build your business on others info, your biggest issue is how you handle privacy, and by that I mean how do they make money without selling out all of our information to advertisers and other companies. Thankfully, privacy on Facebook has been greatly improved over the years with some much better privacy controls (such as filters for exactly who can see particular posts, better controls on how people can find you and what they see if they’re not your Friend etc.), but now some possibly much more dangerous news has come out– if you added your address or phone number to Facebook they can now share that information with advertisers.

facebook app sharing cell phone info

An example of a Facebook app that plans to get your phone number and address from Facebook

According to the Facebook developer blog this type of “sharing” will only be used in applications (such as playing a Facebook game or logging onto Facebook from a Facebook Share button on a different site to post something directly to your wall), and these apps will need to explicitly ask your permission to get access to this info (see pic above. Note: these apps only have access to your info and not any of your Friends’ phone numbers or addresses). Of course when you think of how many times we all just click “I agree” or “Allow” to something– the legal thing that comes up every time you want to create an account on a website or install a program like Word or iTunes on your computer– without reading the full fine print its easy to see this move causing a lot of unexpected trouble for people.

We’re not gonna go into all the possible legal trouble in all this (for example what goes on with the info for all the Facebook users under 18) but you can fix this in a pretty simple waygo to your Facebook page and remove this and all other info you don’t want out there for the whole world to see (and yeah, we know this may make it harder for you to stay in contact with your friends– but you could always Facebook Chat them your info). Otherwise, don’t be surprised if sometime in the future you start getting calls or letters from a “Nigerian price” asking for your credit card info so he can send you a free iPad all because he found you on Facebook.

And I think this part goes without saying, but be careful what you share online.

More info: Huffington Post.

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Posted on March 1, 2011, in Facebook, Teen Info and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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