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Facebook now sharing addresses, phone numbers with third parties

Facebook is now sharing users’ addresses and phone numbers with third parties, according to an official Facebook blog post. Is this good or bad?

Facebook now sharing addresses and phone numbers with third party developers

Do you have your home address or phone listed on your Facebook profile? If you answered yes, you might want to reconsider that part of your profile.

An adjustment to the Facebook Terms of Service will now allow third-party application developers (like FarmVille creator Zynga) to access your address and telephone number if its listed on your profile.

Facebook: Give us your personal info

Facebook’s Jeff Bowen announced the change on a Friday night blog post.

“We are now making a user’s address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object. Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions. These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs,” Bowen wrote.

What does this change mean for you? It means third-parties can access more information about you than ever before.

“Now, shady app developers will find it easier than ever before to gather even more personal information from users. You can imagine, for instance, that bad guys could set up a rogue app that collects mobile phone numbers and then uses that information for the purposes of SMS spamming or sells on the data to cold-calling companies,” Internet security giant Sophos wrote in a blog post. “The ability to access users’ home addresses will also open up more opportunities for identity theft, combined with the other data that can already be extracted from Facebook users’ profiles.”

Facebook: How to secure your info

You’d think a company with a reputation for lax security wouldn’t sink to this new low, but they have.

The best way to avoid anything shady happening to your private information is to keep it off Facebook. You can just email the phone and address information to those Facebook friends who actually need to know it.

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