Okay, by now any headline connecting Facebook to a privacy breach almost doesn’t seem newsworthy, but this one is big. Emily Steel and Geoffrey A. Fowler report:
Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found.
The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to be completely private. The practice breaks Facebook’s rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users’ activities secure.
The apps, ranked by research company Inside Network Inc. (based on monthly users), include Zynga Game Network Inc.’s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user’s friends to outside companies.
Read more in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a solid piece of investigative journalism and if Facebook improves its privacy because of it, we all owe the WSJ a big thank you.