Facebook Allows to Access User’s Home Address & Mobile Number

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In the latest privacy debate surrounding Facebook:

Facebook Allows Developers to Access Users Home Address & Mobile Numbers: Read the Facebook blog post announcing change

This could be something potentially dangerous, as a large majority of people don’t understand the privacy settings. When adding an app you will be prompted to allow the app to access your data, as in the image below:

Adding a facebook appClick image to enlarge

Yes, it is true you have to give the app permission. However, outside of removing all personal info or not adding apps, it does not appear you can stop FB from sharing your private info. There is an option in Account->Privacy Settings->Customize Settings, then under “contact information” where you can configure who sees this info. You can set this to “Only Me”, but this is for people viewing your profile not for applications.

facebook contact infoClick image to enlarge

If you look at the privacy settings for individual apps they include “Access my contact information”and then under that “Online Presence”. What exactly does that mean? For most apps this is also required.

Facebook application settingsClick image to enlarge

There are discussions about the benefits of using Facebook’s open graph as a way to surf the net without having to register/login, and some say (obviously including Facebook) allowing developers access to your address and phone number helps this. But do we really want Facebook to control this?

Not all apps ask you for this information. So, at this point the best thing is to be diligent in evaluating apps before you add them. If they do ask for your address and mobile phone number, make sure you trust the maker of the application before clicking “Allow”.

Another important question to ask:

Why do app developers and ultimately advertisers need this information?

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