Facebook, Social

Users Advised To Delete Address And Phone Numbers On Facebook

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Having been criticised over the years for how it handles the privacy of account holders, Facebook has been involved in a new privacy row. This is as a result of a new policy to allow app developers access to telephone numbers and addresses of its users. The announcement which was made on Facebook’s official blog is said to be as a result of the Website’s aim to connect users with developers as well as friends. However, the plan has raised a lot of eyebrows particularly among many Internet security and privacy analysts who have gone a step further by advising Facebook users to delete all their phone numbers and addresses from the popular social-networking site, with immediate effect.

Although when the new policy is in place, users will still have to give individual applications the permission to access their data, the main cause of concern is that not everyone will notice this change in policy before approving an application thereby resulting in the transfer of personal details without a user’s knowledge. This will potentially result in exposure of a user’s contact details to spammers especially as Facebook does not use a systematic program of vetting potential applications. Thus, anyone could be behind some of the many thousands of independent third-party apps available on the Website.

Furthermore, experts warn that making addresses and phone numbers accessible will create more opportunities for identity theft, combined with the other data that are already openly available on Facebook. This could lead to a sudden rise in the number of rogue app developers seeking to take advantage of the system and exploit unsuspecting users. Already, Facebook advertisers can target users based on their interests, location, and other insights.

UPDATE: Meanwhile, Facebook has responded to the criticism by placing the new feature on “temporary hold” in search of a more robust way to make sure users know what information they are handing over.

Talking Point

Should Facebook continue with its plans to allow developers access to personal details of its users?

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7 Comments

  1. I already took it one step further and deleted my entire Facebook account the other day. It’s scary all the privacy issues that keep popping up every single day. It’s time to go back to real social interaction: face to face contact.

  2. I think Facebook’s intentions are good in trying to connect users with developers as well as friends. But if Facebook really does give developers access to personal details of its users there could be plenty of identity theft and other security issues that will arise.

    I don’t think Facebook should go through with this new policy because there is no way to guarantee that these developers will not take advantage of the access they have to user’s personal details.

    This way too big of a risk on Facebook’s part. If this new feature does happen Facebook should really have a plan to help protect their users.

  3. That’s morally offensive and so cheap. This new policy is directly privacy damage for users. Sharing very personal information like phone number and home address just to use an app, it doesnt make sense and Facebook team should give a thought over it.

  4. It is true that protecting your identity online is becoming harder and harder. People accesing our info when we dont want them to… now we are even dealing with the problems with the information we voluntarily put out there! If you have dealt with identity problems in the past (or think that your online habits – such as using online banking or personal emails over wireless connections, or doing business online or sharing files – could cause an identity theft problem in the future) I say look into getting a VPN.

    A VPN, which is the abbreviation and common term for virtual private network, gives you anonymous web browsing and keeps you, your identity and your computer SAFE! A VPN gives you internet security and is the only way to keep your browsing private. VPN4all.com offers an OpenVPN (which is the safest of all VPN) with software that offers features that anyone from a online music freak to a business executive could benefit from. Visit their site which breaks down the info for you. I used their free trial before making the commitment, which I suggest you do too, because there are rare cases that software or whatever is not compatible with your computer.

  5. Hi there,
    one more useful advice just came from the news: throw away your iPhone if you don’t want to the traced or switch it off to avoid your partner watching you on the move.
    Regards. Arthur

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