Monday, October 18, 2010

More on FB Privacy

So here is a follow up article about the privacy issue with FB applications. I could never understand why anyone wanted a farm or be in a mafia war in the first place, but to each his own.

This quote is just funny to me and I know that if and when I meet Zuckerberg in person, this is exactly why we will get along famously. He isn't trying to be a dick-but the truth hurts.

"Mark Zuckerberg, the company's chief executive, apologized to users, saying that some of the site's privacy settings had become too complicated for the average user to understand."

This said, I have never had an issue with the privacy settings...just sayin'; it ain't rocket science.

Facebook Acknowledges Privacy Issue With Applications

The New York Times

MIGUEL HELFT, On Monday October 18, 2010, 12:16 pm EDT


Facebook said on Monday that it was talking to application developers about how they handle some personal data, after a report said some applications had been improperly sharing the data with advertisers and Web tracking companies.

In a blog post, Mike Vernal, a Facebook engineer, said the company had recently learned that several applications were passing a piece of data known as a user ID to outside companies in a way that violated its privacy policy. User IDs are unique numbers assigned to Facebook members that are used by Facebook and its applications to identify them.

Facebook's statement came after The Wall Street Journal reported late on Sunday that it had found that several Facebook applications were "providing access to people's names and, in some cases, their friends' names" to advertisers and Internet tracking companies. The report said that all 10 of the most popular applications on Facebook, including games like FarmVille and Mafia Wars, were transmitting user IDs to third parties. Three of those applications were also transmitting information about a user's friends, The Journal said.

Facebook also sought to downplay the significance of the problem. "Press reports have exaggerated the implications of sharing" a user ID, Mr. Vernal wrote on a company blog for application developers. "Knowledge of a UID does not enable anyone to access private user information without explicit user consent."

Yet Mr. Vernal acknowledged that the sharing of user IDs was in violation of its privacy policies, and said that it had disabled some programs that did so.

Mr. Vernal said there were technical challenges involved in preventing this problem. "We are talking with our key partners and the broader Web community about possible solutions," he wrote. "We will have more details over the course of the next few days."

Facebook has been hit with a string of controversies over privacy. In May, after a series of complaints from some users and privacy advocates, the company made wholesale changes to its privacy settings. Mark Zuckerberg, the company's chief executive, apologized to users, saying that some of the site's privacy settings had become too complicated for the average user to understand. Despite the changes, the privacy issue has continued to dog Facebook.

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