6:52 am October 18, 2010, by Henry Unger
Many of the most popular applications on the social-networking site Facebook have been transmitting identifying information — providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names — to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.
The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook’s strictest privacy settings, the WSJ reported.
The practice breaks Facebook’s rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users’ activities secure, the WSJ said.
Facebook spokesman said it is taking steps to “dramatically limit” the exposure of users’ personal information.
“A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user’s Internet browser or by an application,” the spokesman told the WSJ.
Knowledge of an ID “does not permit access to anyone’s private information on Facebook,” he said, adding that the company would introduce new technology to contain the problem identified by the WSJ.
The WSJ defines “apps” as pieces of software that let Facebook’s 500 million users play games or share common interests with one another. The Journal found that all of the 10 most popular apps on Facebook were transmitting users’ IDs to outside companies.
As a result, do you plan to limit your use of Facebook? Bail out altogether?
Or, do you think the privacy concerns are overblown in an era of instant exchanges of information on the Internet?
Finally, do you think there is a generational divide on this issue, with younger people much less likely to be concerned over privacy?
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