Understanding Facebook’s “Privacy Breach”
According to CNET and other industry sources around the web, Facebook’s recent privacy breach is the result of the way data is passed to third party applications. Here’s some key information you should understand about the security concerns, and how they are being resolved.
Last week, The Wall Street Journal investigation pitched the issue as a “Facebook privacy breach.” That isn’t really the best way to phrase it; there was no hole, hack, or exploit that led to last week’s report. The “breach” in question is the fact that, as a rule, some information about Facebook users is transmitted to third-party applications that sync up to Facebook. Among that is the user ID number, which can be matched up to a profile and all of the public information contained within–which includes first and last name by default, and often significantly more information based on how much that member has opted to render public.
The Journal’s investigation found that many app developers have been selling or transmitting those user IDs to outside companies. Some of those outside companies, in turn, are data-collection or advertising firms with their own databases to which they can match up public Facebook profile data to bigger compendiums of personal information.
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