back to article Facebook gets poked in latest privacy gaffe

Facebook’s privacy rules aren’t as watertight as the company would have its users believe, after the Wall Street Journal uncovered that some of the social network’s most popular apps have siphoned off personal information to ad firms and internet tracking outfits. According to the report, many Facebook apps have transmitted …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    The Affected...

    "It said that the 10 most popular Facebook apps, including Farmville and Texas HoldEm Poker, were transmitting users’ IDs to external firms."

    So it affects mainly retards and those with no real-world friends to play poker with...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Affected

      And maybe those who know enough about facebook apps to have made your comment.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "...mainly retards and those with no real-world friends to play poker with..."

      Could be a dictionary definition of a facebook user.

  2. Anonymous Coward

    Oh come on!...

    It is hilarious that Facebook has become the target of blowing everything out of proportion. Ok so Facebook has the most complex privacy settings architecture I have ever seen, I can only imagine so that it hopes you will miss changing one of these settings and allow the monster to make cash moneys out of your personal data, granted.

    However, talk about blowing something completely out of proportion. Banner adds are provided the ID of the facebook account and it sounds like that ID was subsequently then used to scrape the details from the users page... Its easier than that for companies to get data, they just use the API.

    BUT, If the settings are set to "Friends only" you get no personal details only the facebook ID which is useless to anyone who isn't a friend. Facebook is even kind enough to say your page doesn't exist, making it look like an error. Trying to get data through the API will result in no additional data as well, PROVIDED you have your privacy set correctly.

    The ID is used to retrieve user data, don't get me wrong, that is the ONLY purpose for providing it to marketing companies. If your account is set to the adequate privacy settings though all these companies get is your Facebook ID.

    1. Bilgepipe

      Yes but...

      Yes, but the complexity of Failbooks privacy settings are geared towards users being unable to understand them, and therefore set them effectively. Defaults are all open, and the site relies on users' inability to understand the implications of that.

      It's not blown out of proportion, this goes right to the fundamental way the site is designed and operated.

  3. Bilgepipe

    And So It Begins

    This is why I swore I'd never sign into Failbook ever again after spending about a day looking at it. Not only is it obvious that farming of personal data is what the site was created for, but it looked like a privacy/security failure waiting to happen.

    Hopefully this event will trigger a backlash against the assault on privacy that sites like Farcebook have been leading for some time. Sadly, with users already too stupid to see what's going on in front of their faces, with their own personal details, I somehow doubt it.

    Where's the Evil Zuckerberk icon?

  4. James 5

    BUT ....

    "As part of our work to provide people with control over their information, we've learned that the design and operation of the Internet doesn't always provide the greatest control that is technically possible. "

    This has been known since the first days of the internet. If you're designing stuff to run on in it's your responsibility to make sure your system is watertight !

    It's a bit like standing in a blizzard in your shorts and sunglasses and saying "we're learned that the operation of the weather system dosn't always conform to our idea of summer."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Facebook told the WSJ that it would bring in new tech to close the breach."

    I think they meant to say "obfuscate the breach"

  6. Rob - Denmark

    Did you read the article?

    "Worse still, the newspaper found that users whose profiles have rigorous privacy settings have also had their details exposed."

  7. davefb

    probably explains

    why all the game mechanics involve getting friends , the more the merrier involved with the game. Oh of course 'we didnt know' , yeah, right...

  8. Llanfair

    I removed all Facebook applications

    I just removed every Facebook application. Why do the games and so on need my photos? In fact every application just wanted access to everything and did not let me remove the requirement. So, I have just removed about 20 apps. :) There must be a Zuckerburg with horns icon.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    "Texas Hold'em Poker"

    is as much a spam staple as Viagra.

  10. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Retro-fitting security is NEVER going to work

    Come on, let's face it. FB was built in the era of "you only need privacy if you're a terrorist" and has been riding the abuse of privacy since. I suspect that security was never part of the design, and if anyone's ever been involved with retro-fitiing security you know that that is just one problem after another..

    Don't use it. If you do need to use it, don't feed them real data.

  11. heyrick Silver badge

    All the more reason...

    ...why Facebook has my name, and... um...

    Yeah, like I'm going to give my address to the world. Hell, they don't even have my proper email address, it's a Yahoo! disposable account.

    After all, they can't share what they don't have!

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    If facebook were ever ever interested in protecting people's privacy or indeed anything else other than making money out of selling you to ad companies then their privacy settings would be simple to administer.

    Every so often we have a story about Facebook selling users' personal details to all and sundry. And every time Facebook respond by claiming they are doing nothing wrong. Then a while later they tell us things have changed and it will never happen again. Firstly the fact that they change things is surely an admission that they were doing something wrong. Secondly why does anybody listen when they say it will never happen again?

    As for "social networking" I just don't get it. I have ways of getting in touch with my friends quite easilly. Why do I need a "social networking" site in order to stay in touch with my friends?

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