Facebook backtracks on data-sharing after users complain

Facebook has removed functionality that allows personal data to be shared with third-party application developers following user complaints and security warnings.

Facebook has removed functionality that allows personal data to be shared with third-party application developers following user complaints and security warnings.

Facebook said it was "temporarily disabling" the feature, which allowed third-party app developers to access Facebook members' addresses and mobile phone numbers stored on their profiles once an app was downloaded.

In a statement on the Facebook Developers' blog, the company said: "Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so."

A Facebook spokesman told Computer Weekly the company has a clear policy in the ways developers can use information. The spokesman insisted users have absolute control over choosing whether to share personal information when requested to do so by apps on the social networking site.

But the announcement of new functionality raised security concerns.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security firm Sophos, said in a blog post: "I realise that Facebook users will only have their personal information accessed if they allow the app to do so, but there are just too many attacks happening on a daily basis which trick users into doing precisely this."

According to Graham Cluley, shady app developers will now find it easier than before to gather even more personal information from users.

The functionality will be re-enabled in the coming weeks when changes have been made in response to user feedback.

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