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How private is your Facebook? June 8, 2010

Posted by Mark Hillary in IT Services, Outsourcing, Software.
Facebook continues to grow in popularity, with over 400m active users around the world. Many in the UK consider it to be more of a social network for friends and family, with LinkedIn the more important tool for business, but in many other regions such as South America, Facebook is the important business tool.

And now the Facebook API (Application Programming Interface) has been opened up, meaning Facebook buttons can appear in other unrelated websites with links directly back to your Facebook account, there is the potential for a whole new wave of security issues to emerge.

Last week it seemed like some hackers tested the water by offering web users naked photos of singer Hayley Williams or the personal phone number of singer Justin Bieber just for clicking a link. Many web users clicked the button only to find that the software ‘click-jacked’ their Facebook account. It did not do anything more malicious than sending the ‘click here’ invitation on to their own contacts, but the implication is obvious.

Facebook is not really just a social networking tool anymore. People use it as a combined phone book, event diary, photo and video storage system… it organises life for many users. And very few users ever bother to look at the privacy settings so they can control what is revealed and to whom.

Offering information on your account and identity can improve the experience of other websites, but how far can a private company like Facebook go in offering the information they have about you and your life to the outside world? Is it a fair defence to say that all the privacy settings are buried away somewhere in your account controls – if you have time to find and understand them?


1. Simon Bomford - June 22, 2010

This is an interesting point. With the Facebook Connect system allowing Facebook to connect to other websites, will our Facebook identity become the de facto account we use to access everything else online?

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