Thursday, August 11, 2011

Facebook and Phone Numbers - the latest complaint

About half of my Facebook friends and their friends had the following on their status some time today.

ALL PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE ARE NOW ON FACEBOOK! Go to the right of screen, click on Account, click Edit Friends, see left side of screen, click Contacts - you will see ALL phone numbers from your phone (FB friend or not) are published that you've stored in phone. REMOVE, go to Right column, click on "this page" then REMOVE. How did FB get all our Phone numbers out of our phone?
The following is Facebook's official comment:
Rumors claiming that your phone contacts are visible to everyone on Facebook are false. Our Contacts list, formerly called Phonebook, has existed for a long time. The phone numbers listed there were [snip] either added by your friends themselves and made visible to you, or you have previously synced your phone contacts with Facebook. Just like on your phone, only you can see these numbers.
I thought this might be the case when phone numbers of people NOT on my phone contacts list were visible.  It is startling to see phone numbers under peoples' faces all of a sudden.  The explanation has yet to reach, I'll post it when it does.

Let's be careful out there, people.  Just because some website asks for your phone number so you can talk to your friends doesn't mean you should give it.  Especially your personal or private info.  Facebook, like Google, is nosy as hell.  Between the requirement of cookies on your computer and the API tapping into advertising companies, I'd start feeling naked about now if I used either of these for any kind of networking other than my job.

Maybe all of these sudden scares about info becoming visible are going to get people to pay attention to how much information is taken and shared.  Remember the "right to privacy" touted in legal cases only applies to privacy from the government.  There is no constitutional right to privacy from private individuals or private organizations.  If you value your privacy, limit the information you distribute online and be vigilant about what other companies (*cough*Google*cough*) acquire on their own for their own uses.  Demand that info and photos be removed if used without your express consent.

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