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New Facebook Privacy Issues Everyone Should Know About

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Facebook PrivacyIn the wake of the release of the enormously popular movie, The Social Network, a few privacy considerations have been reported in the media recently of which every user should be aware. For one, Facebook has confirmed that certain popular Facebook applications may have passed on user data to different advertisers and marketing companies. Moreover, Facebook’s new “Groups” feature presents the possibility of more privacy worries.

On Sunday October 17, the Wall Street Journal reported that all ten of Facebook’s most popular applications, including Farmville, Texas Hold ‘Em Poker, and Frontierville, had transmitted Facebook ID numbers to at least 25 advertising and data collecting companies. Many advertisers track user activity online in an effort to build Internet profiles to target potential customers.

Although it is unclear as yet if these companies are collecting ID numbers anonymously, the Facebook ID number is a component of Facebook that links the number to person’s name and any other information that the user has set to “share with everyone” such as address, phone number, and hometown. The WSJ article also noted that these apps may be transmitting ID numbers of a user’s friends as well.

If the reports that the WSJ cited are accurate, then Facebook could be violating its own rules, demonstrating the difficulty of overseeing the proper implementation of hundreds of thousands of apps, which are created by third-party software developers.

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While the apps story is just now making waves, Facebook’s new “Groups” feature has also come under fire. The reincarnation of Facebook Groups now enables a Facebook user to tag and add anyone to a group, but it doesn’t enable a user to control who their friends invite to the group, leaving room for additional breaches in privacy. Like so many new Facebook features, the new Group capability is automatically turned on, and users must opt out in order to disable it.

A PC Magazine article, in addition to Facebook’s latest possible privacy infractions, lists a few other relatively recent features that caused controversy in the past year. These include Facebook Places and confusion over new Facebook privacy controls. The article highlights how important it is for Facebook users, and Internet users in general, to be aware of what information they make available online, and to know that this information can be easily leaked.

While the Internet as a whole is a terrific forum that connects people from all over the planet, the fact that cyberspace is not regulated as strictly as other facets of our lives underscores the necessity of consumer awareness.

This article is written by Alvina Lopez. She writes on the topics of Accredited Online Colleges. She welcomes your comments at her Email ID: alvina.lopez @gmail.com. If you wish to write for HBB, kindly check this.



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I am Alvina Lopez, a freelance writer, writes on various topics online.

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    15 Comments

    • Calgary

      I do play farmville too and other application offered by facebook, and I have encountered spam pages, and it is annoying. But I think it’s part of social media sites, as we known facebook is much see compare to other social media sites. But then, if you want privacy, you should not post your contacts nor obscene images in your site.

    • Harriet

      It really isn’t good that facebook haven’t sent out emails telling people about these privacy issues seeing as it affects their users! Luckily I already had mine set to private!

    • Andrei

      Thanks for letting me know about this.

    • Praveen

      FB is really becoming a big threat for the users

    • Rohit | Ipod Touch 4G

      great post…thanks for making us aware…..

    • FAQ Support Rep

      OMG!! I hope they look into this, sending ID numbers. What if the information they send to the companies will be shared to others, hacking and phishing may occur then.

      • Irfan Siddiqui

        I have heard that fb is sharing personal info with others but after reading for a while i got to know that if have used privacy control your profile info is safe with you. There is no issue further.

    • Vinayak Nagri

      great post and a must read

    • Thiru

      Again the post with great stuff. Thanks.

    • vicky89

      never accept request form strangers that you don’t know and make sure that your privacy status is as private that only your friends or friends of friends can view your profile.

    • Crunchynow

      Cool….
      you made us aware…

      thanks…….

    • icechen1

      Facebook privacy is often underrated. People will only change them when it’s too late. Facebook REALLY need to have more initiative to help their user’s privacy, and not just provide the option for them to change it(in a confusing interface)

      • Irfan Siddiqui

        Lastly, when i was about to sent a friend request to someone fb doesn’t allowed me to sent friend request to that person by saying do you know this user personally, you’re not allowed to sent friend request. I guess this one the most strongest action fb have taken for privacy concern. I have written one post in my blog – Can’t Add Girls on Facebook? Here is The Solution there you’ll find solution of that error.

    • abhishek rohilla

      very true….the security of information in Facebook is a major concern these days. I had once added an application and it started posting obscene messages on my friend’s wall without my permission. Something needs to be done about it by FB.

    • Kaddu

      This post was very much required at least in my FB circle! Yupp, I play FarmVille! And while I take care to ignore all the zillions of invites I get from spam pages, most of my FV neighbors fall prey to these schemes.

      Anyways, this point about Group was a little unclear… would be great if you can elaborate… “the new Group capability is automatically turned on, and users must opt out in order to disable it.” Thnaks once again!

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