Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Facebook Gives Apps Access to Your Contact Info

I just found out today, although it was on Facebook's Developer Blog in January, that Facebook is now allowing applications, that you add, to view and access your contact information. Cell phone number, address, email, all of it. This is obviously controversial and some U.S. State Representatives have gotten involved. According to Mashable:
Douglas Purdy posted an update to Facebook’s Developer Blog, noting that “Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data.” Facebook disabled the feature but indicated it would re-enable it in the future. That was before U.S. Reps. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) and Joe Barton (R-Texas) announced they had asked Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to explain the proposed plans.
 “Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn’t become Phonebook,” said Markey in a statement.

We have grown accustomed to clicking Allow on all sorts of apps. It's almost become a second nature, "no-brainer" thing. And I mean that in both senses if you caught my pun. Yes it's a "no-brainer" to add applicationsto your Facebook profile - everyone knows how to do it. But there is another reason it's a "no-brainer". It's stupid to think that everything is safe and OK to add. Just because it was "approved" by Facebook, doesn't mean it can't do any damage. That was my opinion before this new "update." Now, I'm even more serious. Any application that I wish to add that asks to access my personal contact information will get declined on the spot. I encourage you to do the same. I feel so many people are hesitant to let others see their information, posts, etc., but will readily add any app they think is "cool", whether its a game, a survey, anything. This is not good people. You're trusting an application, created by someone who you know not, to access your crap!

I do have some applications, but I maintain them - if I don't need it anymore I remove it. I also only add ones that I do need. Hopefully this will help you and open your eyes a bit. Facebook is an awesome company, website and tool, but it needs to be managed by us. We can't trust that Facebook will do everything right and protect us. Be aware of what you have available, not just to the people you know, but the ones you don't.

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