On Friday at 9pm EST, Facebook announced on their developer blog that they would allow applications to ask for permission to a user’s address and mobile phone number.
You know it’s really creepy news when they release access to your home and your phone on the Developer blog on a Friday evening.
Before you get too unsettled, Facebook apps can only access this information if you list it, and even then, you have to give permission to the app to do it. Also, it can’t access your friends’ addresses. Still, I think this is a permission that’s just slimy.
How many times does the average Facebook user install an app without even reading the terms of it? How many times a week do you see your “friends” who’ve been hacked by a malicious app post on hundreds of walls? What on earth will developers even use this for?
I’m sure there is some app someone has in mind that is practical, safe, and a completely cool way to use this information that is beneficial to users, but I can’t think of that. I think of all the users who plow through terms of service screens and prompts just to get to the thing they want. These are your friends who are constantly spreading crap and clicking any link. The last thing we need is for an app to give your home address to the horrible people out there who make spam and exploitation apps. If you thought getting e-mails from the “Nigerian princes” was fun before, just wait until they can call your cell phone or show up at your doorstep. Yeah, that’s going to be really fun.
I’m sick of this type of sleazy, slimy behavior from Facebook. They preach about connecting the world into a huge, global community, but they don’t seem to care about protecting the people within their own system. They release this development on a weekend evening so it won’t be picked up as much and it won’t get discussed.
There are already a lot of horrible news stories online about what people do when they see things on Facebook. It’s only a matter of time before this makes the news for else that’s terrible.