Last Friday evening Facebook rolled out new permissions policy that gives applications access to individuals’ addresses and phone numbers. The upshot is that if you use any app, like a game, you get a window where you must click to allow it access to your profile (so you can use the game). So now the app gets more personal information about you than ever before. Also as part of the scheme, there is no way to opt-out. This means that all personal data is being treated as if it were of the same value.
This policy applies to all apps who decide to implement this new feature. It applies to developers, including ones that might be malicious, or are simply opportunistic app developers who try and grab as much personal data as possible to sell to third parties.
The problem with this is that is looks like the equivalent of handing your ID to an anonymous telemarketer somewhere in the world. It’s like if you order something online and had your address or phone number sold.
Facebook’s recent disclosure of it’s Wall Street value enterprise, going through the roof so to speak, and this means that they’re going to monetize your private and personal data. So if you’ve shared it with Facebook, your data is up for grabs.
One noticeable problem with this is that people have been accustomed to click through this screen. The window box now says that it’s sharing the information, but it does not really look any different than it did before. For people already overwhelmed by Facebook, any novice, it will be easy to miss. Many users will continue to think that this is normal, and that everyone must be doing it. Remember that with Facebook, people use their real names and real information. Those with little social network experience are likely to put their address and phone numbers into their profiles simply because the form fields are there.