Thursday, May 20, 2010


Facebook privacy concern expands

by Larry Geller

You’ve probably heard that Facebook has sold its users down the river by gradually changing its privacy policies and then sharing what was previously private user information. Other websites have behaved similarly.

It’s also proven hard to lock down your information on Facebook. Since some related applications share data, each one of them has to be locked down.

Here are two hot-off-the-press articles (it’s a figure of speech…):

Facebook and Others Caught Sending User Data to Advertisers (, 5/20/2010)

The Mashable article is basically a summary of this one, from the Wall Street Journal:

Facebook, MySpace Confront Privacy Loophole (Wall Street Journal, 5/21/2010)

Facebook, MySpace and several other social-networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers' names and other personal details, despite promises they don't share such information without consent.

Advertising companies were given information that could be used to look up individual profiles, which, depending on the site and the information a user has made public, include such things as a person's real name, age, hometown and occupation.

Internet users need to keep in mind that any website that says it can change its privacy policy without notice, or that you have to check their privacy notice on-line (home many of us would do that every day?), are basically not giving any assurance of privacy at all. Private today, public tomorrow. They told you they could do it.

One thing about private, personal information: it will spread, once you put it out there. And it can’t be put back in the bottle once it’s out.

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