By Ed Oswald | Monday, February 28, 2011 at 5:15 pm
Social networking site Facebook created quite a stir last month when it announced that it would share much more personal details of its users — such as addresses and phone numbers — with third party developers. The move was so controversial that the company quickly reversed its plans and delayed the offering while it weighed its options. It also attracted the ire of Congress.
In a response to Reps. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas), the company now says it plans to go ahead with offering the functionality. “We expect that, once the feature is re-enabled, Facebook will again permit users to authorize applications to obtain their contact information,” the company wrote, adding it was looking into ways to “further enhance user control.”
Facebook may be acting within its rights to continue with its plans. After all, we’ve been authorizing the company to share information with these developers for quite awhile. It certainly appears as if the social networking site is requiring that those that want this to specifically request it on that permissions screen.
In the end, it seems more of a question of why an application would need such information, and it’s up to us to be more vigilant on what we’re sharing on Facebook.
Are Markey and Barton happy? Cautiously so, it seems. “I’m pleased that Facebook’s response indicated that it’s looking to enhance its process for highlighting for users when they are being asked for permission to share their contact information,” Markey said. “Facebook has indicated that the feature is still a work in progress, and I will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure that sensitive personal user data, especially those belonging to children and teenagers, are protected.”