Another explosive and privacy invading bug has been vanquished by Facebook. This time, the bug randomly sent the phone numbers of Facebook users to mobile app developers using the Facebook API or application programming interface.
This glitch was first reported back in June 2012. When mobile developers use Facebook’s graph API to retrieve users’ email addresses, they sometimes instead received a 10-digit number. Statistics quoted say that this occurs once in every 1000 instances up to once every 200 users.
The good news is that Facebook has already resolved the problem. However, some may think that it’s too little too late as it has already been 9 months since the first report of the problem and as such, Facebook seems to have features that are more questionable in keeping the privacy of Facebook users. Cases in point are Facebook’s controversial Graph Search as well as its partnership with several data trackers that enable Facebook to track purchases made by users even when offline.
In Graph Search’s case, Facebook counters that only publicly posted information is searchable. With Facebook’s confusing myriad of privacy settings, it might be helpful to go and check what data you’re publicly sharing now that Graph Search is here. You can also try out apps such as Facewash that allow you to easily scour your profile for things that you don’t want to be made public.
On its advertising front, Facebook has struck partnerships with several data collection firms in order to create custom ad audiences based on locations and interests. While there are qualms about data mining in which Facebook supplies advertisers with personal information of its users, Facebook has hastily assured the public that all data given to advertisers remain anonymous.
As it is, this news highlights that it takes a long time for Facebook to fix a glitch regarding user privacy. It took Facebook nine months to remove a bug that gave out users phone numbers without their knowledge. News like this do nothing to bolster the faith of Facebook users who are concerned that Facebook is too lax with privacy security.