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Monday, January 17, 2011

Facebook tweak reveals addresses, phone numbers

In what is potentially another privacy misstep, Facebook has made a change to a permissions dialog box users see when downloading third-party Facebook apps--a change that potentially makes users' addresses and phone numbers available to app developers.

The tweak was made known to developers of third-party apps Friday night, by way of a post on the Facebook Developer Blog. Basically, when a person starts downloading a third-party Facebook app, a Request for Permission dialog box appears that asks for access to basic information including the downloader's name, profile picture, gender, user ID, list of friends, and more. What's new as of Friday is an additional section that asks for access to the downloader's current address and mobile-phone number

Aside from the potential for outright hacking and identity theft, it's not unheard of for app developers to sell information on Facebook users to data brokers. Users of third-party Facebook apps can simply click the Don't Allow button--which reportedly won't interfere with a successful download--or they can remove their address and phone number from their Facebook profile.

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