Earlier this week, Facebook announced developers now have access to user details who sign up for their applications. These include postal addresses and telephone numbers. Access to Facebook's most valuable asset, the users details is a welcome step for companies to integrate marketing strategies with more interaction to its target market, its fans on Facebook.
There are some serious privacy issues as Facebook has no vetting procedures for developers of applications, this potentially will give malicious developers the ability to get hold of postal addresses and phone numbers for fraud. Facebook users are being advised to take their phone numbers and addresses off their profiles. The applications do however ask permission for access to these details, but the only other option other than sharing the information is not to download the application at all.
Contradicting its previous move to make user details more secure, by giving users the power to decide which details they make available, the latest move hands the power over to developers who have the option to request the data to use their applications.
However, in another statement made this week, Facebook made a u-turn following feedback on their first announcement. It is now giving users the option to give permission to third party websites accessing their details. But is this enough to stop the malicious applications accessing such data? Facebook is riddled by rogue applications, operating under the Facebook name and brand, they look like legitimate applications, it is sometimes hard to tell which applications are malicious.
It has been suggested that this move may be due to Facebook attempting to develop a future stream of revenue by sharing user details; it's most valuable asset to advertisers and developers. Facebook have stated it will never launch a subscription service, so this move seems to be towards getting people to pay with their details rather than money.