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Your Private Parts
It's been called to the attention of IT consultants and security analysts that the many widgets—or fun little applications—available to Facebook users could be compromising user privacy. Not only are you handing out your own information, but you're sharing your friends' information as well, each time you download a new application.
Facebook—and MySpace—allows outside developers to see a member's information when they add a program. MySpace tends to be a little more restrictive, though. Facebook lets these developers see the whole slew of personal information listed, with the exception of contact info. You can change your privacy settings to do avoid this but many users, especially in Canada, feel that there isn’t enough notification of that option.
While Facebook maintains that developers are not allowed to keep profile information for more than 24 hours and can't share it with anyone else, it's hard to tell what those companies are doing with the facts. Or whether there has been a violation of policy—because you can’t add an app without “allow[ing] this application to...Know who I am and access my information.” What the disclaimer fails to mention is your friends.
Once that information is on the developer's server, there's nothing Facebook can do about it. Developers can use that data to create targeted ads based on profile information such as age, location and relationship status.
Do you think Facebook should reconsider their position of allowing developers to see personal member information? Does this knowledge make you feel differently about using Facebook? [Washington Post]