Facebook grants developers access to phone numbers, mailing addresses

Posted on January 16, 2011

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Facebook annouced that developers would be given access to users’ phone numbers and mailing addresses, according to the Facebook Developers blog.

For a developer to access this information, the developer would need to specific request that information. The user would also need to make this information publicly available.

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.

Please note that these permissions only provide access to a user’s address and mobile phone number, not their friend’s addresses or mobile phone numbers.

Seriously. An organization with privacy issues will give developers access to your phone number and mailing address.

This could be very, very bad for Facebook AND its users.

Facebook says that the user must approve of every app that wants this information. But it is very easy to overlook.

I would say that most applications would use the information responsibly. But you can not guarantee that everyone would.

Suggestion: The easy way around this issue is to remove your home address and phone number from you Facebook profile, if it is still present. I use my work address and a Google Voice phone number. That gives me a little protection.

Check in on your Facebook privacy settings from time to time and be careful what you allow.

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Posted in: Facebook