Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

FaceBook to Congress: We’re going to give users’ phone, address to others

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Tuesday, March 1, 2011

FaceBook is a privately held firm, and much – if not all – of their financial facts are not public record, so any remarks by any firms other than FB themselves are pure speculation. That being observed, it has been remarked that FB does not generate significant revenue by advertising. Their “click through” rate is far less than half the industry norm. So “sharing” (that ‘s a poor euphemism for SELLING) contact information database is the solitary most valuable thing they have. Further complicating matters, FB’s apps have been well-known to be a repository for malware.

Facebook will soon share users’ phone numbers and addresses with 3rd parties

By Brett Michael Dykes 3:49PM ET
Tuesday, 01March2011

It’s been a while since we’ve had an uproar over Facebook’s handling of its users personal information, so we suppose the time is ripe.

So cue the online outrage: Facebook announced today in a letter to Congress that the social-media platform is moving forward with plans to give third parties access to user information, such as phone numbers and home addresses.

In a letter to Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Tex.), who both expressed concerns over Facebook’s plan to make such data available, company officials reiterated their now-familiar pledge to leave it up to users to decide whether they want their personal contact information to go out to app developers and outside websites. Markey has previously said that “Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn’t become Phonebook.”

The company, meanwhile, sounds as though it has no plans to trim back its information-sharing ambitions.

“We have not yet decided when or in what manner we will redeploy the permission for mobile numbers and addresses,” the letter states. “We are evaluating whether and how we can increase the visibility of applications’ request for permission to access user contact information. We are also considering whether additional user education would be helpful.”

Facebook has incited user revolts in the past by arbitrarily re-calibrating its privacy settings and then making it difficult for even the most seasoned web geeks to figure out how to reset them. And once again, anger is roiling among tech industry observers.

“Facebook is the slowly warming pot of water and we, my friends, are the frog. By the time we noticed our peeling skin, another hunk of our privacy is long gone,” MSNBC tech writer Helen A.S. Popkin wrote about the latest move. “This is how Facebook rolls: Strip away a huge chunk of your privacy, cry ‘Our bad!’ and roll it back when users and/or privacy advocates complain. Then wait awhile, and do whatever it is Facebook planned to do anyway. Voila! Boiled frog.”

Or as Facebook VP Elliot Schrage bluntly (if less colorfully) put things in the midst of a similar uproar last year: If you don’t want Facebook to share your personal information, don’t share your personal information with Facebook.

(Photo: Jeff Chiu/AP)

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