Facebook now sharing your address, number

How do you feel about the social networking giant sharing your home address and phone number with strangers?


Adam Clark Estes
January 17, 2011 11:18PM (UTC)

Adding your home address and personal phone number feels risky. What if that stalker you used to have finds out where you live and pays a visit? What if some obnoxious hacker sells your phone number to telemarketers? What if Facebook just gives your info away to everyone?

Well, that last what if just came true -- which means the first two may not be far behind.

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According to a report in today's Guardian, Facebook is now sharing your home address and phone number with third party developers. In a platform upgrade on Friday, Facebook announced that these "new user object fields" were free game for anyone and even gave detailed instructions on how to access users' addresses and phone numbers.

Facebook contacted the Guardian for a correction after publication, insisting that users' data is just as safe and private as ever. The utility of this change -- according to Facebook -- would be to better help companies, say airlines, provide more targeted updates to their customers. And obviously users can restrict access by navigating the (far from) simple privacy settings.

This latest privacy gaffe has been trending on Twitter all day. One user mentioned that he had changed his information as a result of the news:

@anotherlab: Since Facebook will now let apps access your address & number, I have set my no. to 650-543-4800 (FB Customer Service) http://bit.ly/gkJvYD

If you need me, I'll be updating my Facebook profile with a new phone number.

RELATED: Even more bad news for Zuckerberg, things aren't going well on the anti-trust front. The New York Times reports today that Goldman Sachs has withdrawn its offer for U.S. investors to buy a slice of Facebook in order to avoid further investigation by the SEC. They will only be selling Facebook shares to international investors.

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Adam Clark Estes

Adam Clark Estes blogs the news for Salon. Email him at ace@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @adamclarkestes

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