Monthly Archives: April 2009

Everything’s Public and Visable on Facebook 1

facebook

This is really just a head’s up and review of a post Forlorncow passed on from the Survellience State blog here.

It seems that Facebook applications use more of your information than you may want to share when you add them:

“…Facebook launched its widely popular application developer program back in May 2007. As of press time, there were more than 14,000 applications. Some, including most of the popular apps, are made by companies, while a few of the popular apps, and a significant number of the long tail of the less popular applications are made by individual developers.

But a new study suggests there may be a bigger problem with the applications. Many are given access to far more personal data than they need to in order to run, including data on users who never even signed up for the application. Not only does Facebook enable this, but it does little to warn users that it is even happening, and of the risk that a rogue application developer can pose…”

Soghaoin goes on to note in the article that Facebook allows developers to access all of your friends’ information when you add an app, unless you explicitely tell it not to.  There are some privacy concerns here:

“…Facebook’s Web site and lengthy application terms of service curiously fail to mention something rather important. In addition to providing the application developer access to most of your private profile data, you also agree to allow the developer to see private data on all of your friends too.

Many Facebook users set their profiles to private, which stops anyone but their friends from seeing their profile details. This is a great privacy feature that can protect users from cyberstalkers and is completely gutted by the application system. To restate things–if you set your profile to private, and one of your friends adds an application, most of your profile information that is visible to your friend is also available to the application developer–even if you yourself have not installed the application…”

So, what this means, in short, is that every time a friend adds some dumbass application, all of my profile information I have deemed ‘Private’ is now viewable, by the App Developer, and also Users of that app.

There is a simple way to sort this out for now, go into your SETTINGS>APPLICATION SETTINGS>PRIVACY and tick the level of privacy you’re comfortable with.

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