Maybe this is not really a flaw, but Facebook’s default privacy settings are being questioned again this week as a Dallas, TX mobile developer has exposed what may be a weakness in Facebook’s Graph Search function. The developer, Brandon Copley, has used his developer status to collect a database of 2.5 million Facebook user names and phone numbers. Not surprisingly, Facebook has issued a cease and desist order in an effort to shut him down.
Facebook’s defense is that while the default privacy setting is to have contact info including phone numbers set to public, users can switch to a more private setting at any time. Copley was interviewed by TechCrunch, and summarized his objection as follows:
“Facebook is denying its users the right to privacy by allowing our phone numbers to be publicly searchable as the default setting,” Copley tells me. “This means that anyone with my number knows my Facebook contact information. I may have not told my future employer about my Facebook account, but if I called them on my cell phone they can now know how to find me on Facebook.”
The fact that Facebook sets your default privacy settings to public rather than private is a pretty good indication that your privacy is not their major concern. You can see more info about Facebook’s privacy settings here. Take a moment to review your privacy settings, and give some thought to what would happen, as in the case above, if a prospective employer were to see your Facebook page with its existing privacy settings.
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