Third parties compile profiles based on Facebook data
In October 2010, the Wall Street Journal discovered that apps on Facebook were sending identifying information such as the names of users and their Friends to myriad third-party app advertising and internet tracking companies. All of the ten most popular Facebook apps, including Zynga's FarmVille, Texas HoldEm Poker, and FrontierVille, were found to be transmitting personal information about their users' Friends to outside companies. While Facebook and defenders of online tracking argued that sending Facebook ID numbers is benign because real names are not attached, the Journal discovered that the company RapLeaf had been able to link its own database of internet users to the Facebook ID numbers it obtained to compile and sell profiles of individuals based on their internet activities. In further investigation, the Wall Street Journal found the same problem on other social networks, including MySpace, LiveJournal, and Digg.
Tags: Facebook, RapLeaf, tracking, apps, Zynga, profiles, social networks
Writer: Emily Steel
Publication: Wall Street Journal
Individuals must be able to selectively disclose their identity, generate new identities, pseudonyms, and/or remain anonymous.