Facebook freezes contact detail sharing feature

Dylan Bushell-Embling
telecomasia.net
Facebook has suspended a feature enabling app developers to access users' addressees and mobile numbers after drawing the ire of its members and security professionals.
 
On Friday, Facebook introduced new code that would allow app developers to request users' contact details.
 
The feature would reportedly allow app makers to specify the sharing of addresses and phone numbers as a requirement for allowing Facebook members to use their apps, and the permissions screen looked similar to the one used before the ability was added.
 
The move sparked an outcry of protest in tech blogs and Twitter.
 
As a result, the company yesterday said it had disabled the feature after receiving “useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data.”
 
Facebook said the feature was introduced for applications such as allowing users to easily share details with shopping sites or receive LBS-based shopping deals, and that users have to explicitly agree to share addresses and phone numbers.
 
But in a blog post on Sunday, Sophos senior technology consultant Graham Cluley said requiring permission to gather details was thin protection for Facebook subscribers.
 
“There are just too many attacks happening on a daily basis which trick users into doing precisely this,” he said. “Now, shady app developers will find it easier than ever before to gather even more personal information from users.”
 
The incident is only the latest in a line of privacy gaffes for the social networking site.

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