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Facebook Applications Sharing User Data


PRIVACY REQUIRED. This is a slogan that all the internet users and especially the social networking platform users are chanting these days. We see blogs fill with tech people condemning the social networking platforms for violating the privacy of the users.

So, recently a report was published by Wall Street Journal that claimed that a lot of social networking giant Facebook applications are sharing personal information of their common users with loads of advertising and internet based tracking companies, which is in violation to the own rules set by the Social Networking website, Facebook.

The Wall Street report stated that the applications provide access to the advertising companies of the user name and in some instances even the names of the friends of user who are running that particular application. The report says that this issue can affect huge number of application users ranging from thousands to tens of millions. The Journal in its report said that the research carried out by the team at WSJ found that 10 most wanted applications on Facebook including the highly popular Zygna’s Farmville were indeed transmitting the ID’s of the users, once the ID’s are known, they can be used to look up even the user’s friend list and transmit that list to the third party companies and application developers.

RapLeaf that is a renowned data gathering company was able to trace and connect the information gathered from those specific Facebook apps to its private retained database of internet users. The San Francisco based RapLeaf which is a startup company provides a unique kind of a search engine that enables the users to retrieve the name, age and even the social networking profile of any user as long as the users have an e-mail address of the person whom they are searching for.

The WSJ also reported that RapLeaf transmitted portion of the information it got, to the involved third parties but RapLeaf told the newspapers that this particular transmission of information was utterly unintentional. When RapLeaf was contacted for the comment they didn’t have any considerable reply.

Social networking Hub Facebook did not respond to any particular request for the comment on this transmission of user’s information but a company spokesperson told the media that Facebook is taking immediate steps to drastically cut short the exposure of the user’s personal information to any of the third parties like RapLeaf.

This particular incident clearly highlights the challenges that Facebook is confronted with in the field of user’s privacy. In May this year, Facebook was also confronted with a bug that made users profile vulnerable to the public users and live chat messages and pending friend request were visible to the other friends.

Earlier this month, the massive social networking platform also launched certain options like Groups that gave the users more control over their personal information. These sets of new features were designed basically to impart users more control over their applications including a totally redesigned groups, a tool for downloading the profile and a more controlled way of interacting with the third party applications. Out of all these revamped features, Dashboard was the one that tells the users, which of the third party application is asking for data viewing permission and who are actually doing it.

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