Home Facebook Now Shares Phone Number & Address With Third-Party Apps

Facebook Now Shares Phone Number & Address With Third-Party Apps

Facebook recently announced on its developer blog that it will now be “making a user’s address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object.” In other words, the site will now let third-party applications (think Farmville or that spammy app your friends keep falling for that promises to show them who is stalking them on Facebook) access your contact information.

“Because this is sensitive information,” reads the announcement, “[…]permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs.” Take a look at the example permission dialogs box, however, and tell us if you think this is enough.

Update: Facebook has announced that it has suspended the controversial feature and will be “making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so.”

As All Facebook points out, there is very little here to call attention to the fact that Facebook would now be sharing something that it previously did not share. In this particular dialog box, it’s only one of two items, but many similar boxes contain more. “[Users] probably won’t notice the addition of the words ‘current address and mobile phone number’ to the text, and likely click ‘allow’ without noticing that they’re actually granting more access than ever before,” writes Jackie Cohen for All Facebook.

Thankfully, this sort of information cannot be shared via your friends’ careless actions, unlike other profile information. According to Facebook’s blog post, “these permissions only provide access to a user’s address and mobile phone number, not their friend’s addresses or mobile phone numbers.”

What do you think about Facebook sharing your phone number and address? Of course, the responsibility of actually sharing that information comes down to whether or not you click that “Allow” button, but is it visually distinct enough? Does it come down to the age old rule that if you don’t want it to be public, you don’t put it on the Internet? Or do you see this as Facebook selling out its users and betraying their trust?

For a more in-depth analysis, take a look at “Facebook & Identity: The Continued Push Toward Becoming Your One True Login“.

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