Marketers Buy Private Facebook Information

facebook_privacy_149821721A new Facebook privacy investigation shows popular apps such as Farmville, Mafia Wars, and some quizzes have been selling user information to advertisers along with details like the user’s name. Advertisers mainly seek user information so they can build advertising campaigns around personalized information like what types of websites you visit, what type of products you “like,” etc. The other alarming aspect of this blatant invasion of privacy is that advertisers are choosing to sell personal information to sites that allow others to search for your personal information like address and e-mail address.

After an in-depth investigation, the Wall Street Journal found 25 instances of third-party app companies storing users Facebook identification numbers, which provided the advertisers with direct link to a user’s profile. No matter how secure the users’ privacy settings were, these apps made it simple for advertisers access and link all Facebook activity to a particular user.

These companies would then build a clear profile of every user’s web browsing habits and Facebook friends, which could potentially be sold to other marketing companies or services such as background check websites.

Facebook has acknowledged the privacy violation and said that it’s taking steps to mitigate the problem by prohibiting app develops from sharing user information with ad networks and data brokers. Those apps that are found sharing the information will be at risk of suspension and being disabled.

(Via ABC News)

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