FILE - In this Nov. 16, 2010 file photo, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg smiles as he speaks at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. Zuckerberg has been named Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2010. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File) (Paul Sakuma)

Facebook suspends sharing home address, phone number after revolt

When Facebook announced it would allow third parties to access more personal data, the world cried foul


Adam Clark Estes
January 18, 2011 8:19PM (UTC)

On Friday, Facebook announced (quietly) that developers could now access users' home addresses and personal phone numbers. After a days-long global outcry from those very users, Facebook announced this morning that it would "temporarily disable" the feature.

With characteristic lack of apology, spokesperson Douglas Purdy said in a blog post that -- thanks to some "useful feedback" -- Facebook would be making some tweaks:

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We are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks.

Sharing your phone number and home address, like most features using the Facebook Platform, is meant to be opt-in. However as Mashable's Stan Schroeder points out, you didn't know what your number and address were being used for until you'd already agreed to share them.

Facebook should be used to users complaining about infringing on their privacy by now. Seriously, this happens every time.

But why oh why does Zuckerberg insist on revisiting the Sysiphean process of exposing users' data, apologizing about not explaining the feature correctly, waiting a little while and then just re-exposing the data with a better explanation?


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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