Your family’s contact info on Facebook — Don’t ‘allow’
By Staci Perkins
The next time you see the “allow” or “don’t allow” permission box after clicking on a Facebook app, pay very close attention to what you may be allowing.
Application developers want your contact info – and they can now get it right from your profile page if you aren’t careful where you click.
Last Friday, Facebook developer Jeff Bowen posted this on his blog: “We are now making a user’s address and mobile phone number accessible as part of the User Graph object. Because this is sensitive information, we have created the new user_address and user_mobile_phone permissions. These permissions must be explicitly granted to your application by the user via our standard permissions dialogs.” Huh?
Let’s put that in layman’s terms. Say you see an incredible shoe shopping app (or your teen daughter does) that promises to find the perfect style of shoes, expressly for you, at a great price. You click on the app and the Facebook permission box pops up. But where it used to ask you to “access my basic information” which includes name, profile picture, gender, networks, etc. (which is scary enough by the way), it now may ask you to “access your contact information.” Yikes.
If you read the comments at the bottom of Bowen’s blog, you’ll see all kinds of reactions. Everything from (and I’m paraphrasing), “Stop allowing scammers on Facebook and people won’t block as many applications!” to “People are just going to click ‘allow.’ It's simple, and it gets them to where they want to get.” And, “90% of the people will just click through the message and won’t change their privacy setting to protect themselves.”
You wouldn’t walk around with your phone number plastered on your forehead, right? And you certainly wouldn’t allow your kids to hand out their cell phone numbers to strangers. Talk to your child to be sure she doesn’t have her mobile number or address on her Facebook profile. If she does, have her remove it immediately.
Find out more about social networking and privacy at SafetyWeb.
Staci Perkins is a tech-savvy mom of two teens on Facebook, a tween who wants to be on Facebook, and one who’s too young to know about it. She relies on SafetyWeb for the latest ways to keep her kids safe. Find her on Twitter: @Perkista.
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