No matter how strict Facebook users may be with their settings, their bid for privacy can be compromised by third-party software developers who make those annoying apps that let users play games with each other—and, apparently, share their personal information with advertisers. The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that this unsettling scenario has played out already when it comes to several popular Facebook apps. —KA
The Wall Street Journal:
Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.
[...] The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.‘s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user’s friends to outside companies.
Most apps aren’t made by Facebook, but by independent software developers. Several apps became unavailable to Facebook users after the Journal informed Facebook that the apps were transmitting personal information; the specific reason for their unavailability remains unclear.