It is no shock that Facebook is in the news again but this time it looks like it’s the advertisers and third-party applications that are taking the heat for their alleged abuse of privacy.
The NY Times recently reported two studies that did a little investigating into Facebook’s advertising platform and uncovered a pretty major loop-hole in the system. This “gray area” allows a marketer to access very personalized information about users without their permission or acknowledgement. Read more on how they work here.
While we expect Facebook ads to be targeted, it’s the idea that these new ads can be designed to purposefully collect private information, such as sexual preference, religion, age and location that should have users worried. Even third-party applications, those you specifically approved, have been caught tracking information, including names and websites visited, and then selling it. Once your information is passed on to third-parties there is no way of knowing what is being done with it.
As is the case with all popular social networking sites; especially those with over 500 million users, there will always be vulnerabilities. Take the time to understand the risks and how they may affect you to better screen third-party applications before they can access your information.
Follow the steps below to see which Facebook applications you’re currently running. You might be surprised.