Facebook Drops Another 'P' Bomb
By Erika Morphy TechNewsWorld January 17, 2011
Facebook no doubt hoped to minimize the repercussions from its latest privacy change by announcing it late on Friday, but there could be a heavier blowback from its move than the company anticipated. "M [users]any won't realize that they have given permission for their phone numbers to be gathered," said Appitalism.com CEO Simon Buckingham. When they do, he predicted, hell is going to break loose.
Facebook dropped a privacy bombshell on an unsuspecting user base before the start of the holiday weekend: Going forward, it will make a user's address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object. That means that users' addresses and mobile numbers are now available to third party developers of such apps as, say, FarmVille.
Facebook acknowledged it was dealing with "sensitive information" in the blog post making the announcement. For that reason, it created a special opt-in permission requirement for the phone number and address to be explicitly granted to the application developer through Facebook's standard permissions dialog.
It also pointed out that these permissions only provide access to a user's address and mobile phone number -- not to friends' addresses or mobile phone numbers.