[LINK] Report: Facebook caught sharing secret data with advertisers

Kim Holburn kim at holburn.net
Fri May 21 13:08:35 AEST 2010

Google may be a little over zealous but facebook is in a different  
league.  The CIA just used to send mormons to check who was living  
where all over the world but now they have facebook.  Result: not so  
many mormons needed.  (Sorry it is Friday after all!)

> The data shared includes names, user IDs, and other information  
> sufficient to enable ad companies such as the Google-owned  
> DoubleClick to identify distinct user profiles. Some of the sites in  
> question, including MySpace and Facebook, stopped sharing the data  
> after the Journal asked them about it. The surreptitious data  
> sharing was first noticed (PDF) by researchers from Worcester  
> Polytechnic Institute and AT&T Labs in August 2009, who brought it  
> up with the sites in question. It wasn't until WSJ contacted them  
> that changes were made.
> Not surprisingly, Facebook appears to have gone farther than the  
> other sites when it comes to sharing data. When Facebook's users  
> clicked on ads appearing on a profile page, the site would at times  
> provide data such as the username behind the click, as well as the  
> user whose profile page from which the click came. "If you are  
> looking at your profile page and you click on an ad, you are telling  
> that advertiser who you are," Harvard Business School professor Ben  
> Edelman told the Journal. Advertisers contacted by the paper said  
> that they were unaware of the additional data and did not make use  
> of it.
> Facebook has tweaked its privacy policy throughout its history, with  
> the most recent moves to open up more user information to the public  
> drawing heavy criticism and FTC complaints. Users have also had a  
> tough time navigating the site's often-Byzantine privacy controls,  
> which has led to a trickle of user defections. With these latest  
> revelations about Facebook ignoring industry standards, not to  
> mention its own privacy policies, that trickle may turn into a  
> torrent.

Kim Holburn
IT Network & Security Consultant
T: +61 2 61402408  M: +61 404072753
mailto:kim at holburn.net  aim://kimholburn
skype://kholburn - PGP Public Key on request

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