Has Facebook lost control of the Platform?

Sun, 2010-11-07 14:02 by admin

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This time around, Facebook may actually have seen its privacy Watergate: A report in The Wall Street Journal on Monday found that the phenomenal amount of personal information that Facebook members put in their profiles may indeed have been sold extensively to marketers, advertisers, and data collectors. The big question, appropriately enough, is what did Facebook know and when did it know it?

Here's what happened: When Facebook members agree to connect their Facebook credentials to any of the hundreds of thousands of applications that implement its third-party developer application programming interface (API), they are giving those developers access to their Facebook member ID numbers and in turn all publicly available information about them on Facebook (which includes names and lists of friends).

Facebook dataThe problem, according to the Journal, is that some of these third-party companies, including extremely popular ones like FarmVille manufacturer Zynga, were selling that data to advertisers and tracking companies in violation of Facebook's terms of use. Some of those tracking companies, too, were matching up Facebook user data to other personally identifying information that they had on hand, in effect putting together puzzle pieces into clear pictures of unsuspecting users' identities.

Thus, beyond the "What did Facebook know?" question comes the accompanying concern that the company's powerful development platform has gotten so big that …

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