Facebook Backs Down On New Feature In Light Of Privacy Concerns
January 21, 2011 by Special To Personal Liberty
Following a backlash from privacy and Web-security advocates, Facebook has suspended plans to share its members' personal information with third-party application developers.
The social networking giant announced on Jan. 14 that it would make users' home addresses and cell phone numbers accessible to certain advertising companies. Over the weekend, privacy groups fired back and urged Facebook members to remove their private information from the website.
In a blog post on Jan. 18, Douglas Purdy, head of developer relations for Facebook, said that the feature will be shelved until the company can make adjustments that allow users to control where their personal information goes. In an interview with TechNewsWorld, Facebook spokesperson Malorie Lucich said that the intention of sharing information with third-party companies is to make online shopping easier for its members.
Security experts and privacy groups have criticized Facebook's efforts to share more information with advertisers.
"The ability to access users' home addresses will also open up more opportunities for identity theft, combined with the other data that can already be extracted from Facebook users' profiles," Graham Cluley of Sophos, an information technology security firm, told The Daily Mail. "You have to ask yourself — is Facebook putting the safety of its 500-plus million users as a top priority with this move?"