Facebook apps users sacrifice privacy for laughs

June 12, 2008

Facebook apps users sacrifice privacy for laughsWhether you are for or against them, Facebook apps are inescapable. What some users might not know when they add the umpteenth application is that many developers get inside peeks at those users’ lives. Is a graffiti board really worth all that?

The Washington Post online reports that each and every Facebook application users add bring with them innumerable sets of unwanted eyes. The developers of Facebook applications like Funwall, Superpoke and more all get free passes to any information you have on Facebook, which is a scary thought.

Beyond that, users who choose to keep profiles private (in hopes of maintaining privacy, no doubt) still volunteer their information to the developers of whatever applications they add to their profiles. Did you know that many times when you add a Facebook application, you’re directly marketing a developer’s product by harassing your friends to check out the application? If your friends accept the application invite, you’ve just helped those developers acquire your friends sensitive information.

What could developers do with that information? Beyond developing more applications based on evaluation of their audiences, developers could easily share that information with marketing groups. After all, everything has a price.

Many Facebook users don’t care about the implications of releasing all their information to developers. Why would they when the new Facebook is all about wasting time on pointless applications and pounding your friends’ inboxes with application invites?

However, closer to when Facebook debuted, many were concerned that such sensitive information could adversely affect a user’s future; the wrong information in a potential employer’s hands could be the difference between landing that dream job and settling for a low-level management position at McDonald’s straight out of college to pay the bills while you look for that big break.

Even more recent there was an uproar over the advertising groups Facebook founder Mark Zuckerburg colluded with, as those advertisers were acquiring all too much sensitive information from users any time users clicked through to seemingly good online deals. What most users don’t realize is that adding applications willy nilly is just one step short of handing your sensitive information directly to those very same advertisers.

Then again, maybe users just aren’t savvy enough to stay away from the pretty applications and advertisements yet. How many computers have been infected with terminal viruses and trojans when they couldn’t resist clicking some enticing pop-up browser window? Perhaps the only way people will realize the value of privacy is to truly see the adverse results of living a completely “public” life. In the mean time, keep your nasty application invites to yourself!

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