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Facebook U-turns on contact sharing apps

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Raft of Criticism

Facebook announced at the end of last week that it had updated the amount of information users were able to share with external companies and applications. The ‘improvements’, as Facebook called them, meant that users approving certain applications would automatically allow them access to their personal information, including home addresses and telephone numbers. The upgrade was intended to benefit users and developers of e-commerce applications, for example airlines selling tickets, to speed up and simplify transactions through the site.

The weekend saw a raft of online criticism towards the move, however, and Facebook announced today that as a result of the ‘useful feedback’ it would be ‘temporarily disabling’ the feature. They did promise, however, to re-launch it again within the next few weeks. Most of the criticism centred on the possibility for ‘rogue’ application developers to add this new feature into their applications and use the personal information for illicit means. Unlike Apple, who screen all applications before making them available for users, Facebook simply makes developers agree to a set of terms. Some have simply ignored these and sold users’ information to third parties

Written by Percy Herbert

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