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social networks « The FORWARD project blog

Posts Tagged ‘social networks’

Zynga sued for sharing Facebook User IDS to advertizers and data brokers

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

The largest Facebook games developer has been hit by a fundamental lawsuit for leaking the personal information of 218 million Facebook members to third parties.

Only days have passed since The Wall Street Journal investigated that a large number of Facebooks apps – including Zynga games such as Farmville and Mafia Wars  – leaked the user IDs of Facebook players and their friends to outside companies.

User IDs are unique identifiers, which can be used to access a user’s Facebook profile by simply going to http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=[UID].

The actual harm that might be done if a user’s Facebook ID is exposed is debatable so Zynga representatives called the lawsuit without merit and stressed that they are preparing a strong defense, according to The Register.

The Facebook social network prohibits the sharing of user IDs with data brokers in its privacy policies and in order to assuage the critics following this privacy breaches is planning to encrypt the user IDs.

Social networks give users’ data to advertisers

Friday, May 21st, 2010

Across the web, its common for advertisers like Google Inc.’s DoubleClick and Yahoo Inc.’s Right Media, to receive the address of the page from which a user clicked on an advertisement. They receive nothing more than an incomprehensible string of letters and numbers that can’t be used to retrieve users’ information.

However, with social networking sites, those addresses include data which advertisers can use to look up individual profiles and discover users’ personal information and interests, contrary to their privacy policy and their promises they don’t share such information without consent.

After Wall Street Journal’s questions, Facebook and MySpace moved to make changes to stop the handover.

“If you are looking at your profile page and you click on an advertisement, you are telling that advertiser who you are”, an assistant professor at Harvard Business School said.

See the graphic about Internet sites that share information that could be tied to individual profiles.

Source: The Wall Street Journal