Archive for August, 2011

August 11, 2011

Facebook isn’t at fault this time – you are

by Priya Chandra

Ok, that is pretty harsh but I’m ranting here, let me be!

So have you been seeing this status update (or variants therof) on your Facebook wall feed recently?

ALL THE PHONE NUMBERS IN YOUR PHONE are now on Facebook, included the numbers of people NOT on FaceBook! No joke – go to the top right of the screen, click on Account, then click on Edit Friends, go left on the screen and click on Contacts. All phone numbers are published!! Please repost this on your Status, so your friends can remove their numbers and thus prevent abuse if they do not want them published!

I’ve seen about 10 of them in the last couple of hours alone. And whilst I agree that in the past (and no doubt in the future) Facebook has (and will) do stupid things with our private information, this is not one of those times.

Those phone numbers have been there for a while – every friend that puts a phone number into their profile settings and allows other people to see that number, has their phone number on Contacts (was originally called Phonebook).

So in that case, it is you / your friend who made the decision to put the phone number up online, knowing it would be visible to other people.

The second part – where the numbers of people who are not on Facebook are available – relates to an activity that you took when you downloaded either the Facebook app or its new Messaging app. You would have been asked if you wanted to sync your phone numbers / contacts EVEN those not in Facebook to your Facebook account and you said YES.

That is how those numbers appeared in your Facebook Contacts list, and just like on your phone, those phone numbers are only available to you (and Facebook’s data engineers).

So, what’s the take-away from this? After all I’m ranting – I must have a solution right?

My personal solution? Keep your databases separate – don’t automatically say yes to everything an app asks you to do, think about the ramifications of having all your phone numbers in Skype, Facebook, Twitter etc. It might be a bit of a pain but at least you know where and who’s seeing not only your details but aslo your friends’ details.

of course Google being totally not evil is completely exempt from this rant – i willingly and happily give over all information to them whenever they ask!