Facebook app grabs iPhone contact info | iLounge News

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Facebook app grabs iPhone contact info

Enabling the Contact Sync feature in the official Facebook iPhone and iPod touch application actually uploads all of a user’s contact info from the device to Facebook, a report in The Guardian reveals. Once the sync option is enabled, all of the contacts stored on the iPhone or iPod touch are uploaded to Facebook along with their names, e-mail address and phone numbers. This information is stored in the user’s Facebook Phonebook and linked to each contact’s Facebook account based on their matching e-mail addresses or phone numbers. Linked accounts are not limited to the user’s friends, however; non-friends are included and even users who have hidden their Facebook profiles from normal searches will appear linked in this view if they have listed a phone number or e-mail address on their profile. Contact information on non-Facebook users is also stored in the phonebook with the option to invite those friends to join Facebook.

Apple’s new App Store Guidelines published early last month expressly prohibit applications from transmitting “data about a user without obtaining the user’s prior permission and providing the user with access to information about how and where the data will be used,” a restriction that could be read to apply here. Although the current version of the Facebook app does provide a warning when enabling the Contact Sync feature, this warning does not make it clear to the average user exactly how their contacts’ information will be used by Facebook beyond stating that the information will be “subject to Facebook’s Privacy Policy.” Further, other Facebook users who have privately listed their phone numbers or e-mail addresses may not be aware that this information may be used to locate their Facebook account, even when it is otherwise hidden from normal searches. iPhone users can opt-out of the Contact Sync feature by simply disabling contact sync in the Facebook app, then visiting their Facebook Phonebook page from a web browser and following the link on the right-hand side to remove mobile contacts from Facebook.

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Comments

1

God!! Would they just cut this #### out? If there was stock involved I’d be dumping it real soon. I’ve already been trimming the “friend” list. My usage of FB is WAY down. I like the fact that I’ve reconnected with old friends. But I’m about ready to pull the plug on FB as it stands now. Unfortunately they now have a recognizable brand…but if there was a good competitor that didn’t play so fast and loose with MY information I (and many, many, many others) wouldn’t think twice about jumping ship.

Posted by Gunhedd on October 6, 2010 at 3:47 PM (PDT)

2

Good old Facebook…...

Glad I deleted my account months ago.

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on October 6, 2010 at 4:00 PM (PDT)

3

This and the fact that the “Remove imported contacts” feature on the right-hand side does not work…

Posted by George on October 6, 2010 at 4:36 PM (PDT)

4

maybe Apple is looking the other way so that they can get PIng and FaceBook to play together.

Posted by Stephen on October 6, 2010 at 8:49 PM (PDT)

5

what you may be missing here is that the user with the iPhone *already* has the “hidden” user’s name/email/phone number.

If you hid yourself on facebook, but I had your Name, Phone number and email address, would you really care that I had your FB picture in my address book?

Because that’s all the happens.

Posted by Patrick Kaine on October 7, 2010 at 4:21 AM (PDT)

6

It is bothersome that to think that Apps, such as FB, cal rummage through your information that you have on your smart phone.  FB is one habit I need to curtail!!!

Posted by Norman on October 7, 2010 at 4:56 AM (PDT)

7

My god, not only are there people so stupid that they couldn’t figure out that turning on something called “Contact Sync” would access their contacts, but they get incensed at their own stupidity!

Posted by Dawes on October 7, 2010 at 6:44 AM (PDT)

8

ONE more reason NOT to put any personal information on Facebook. No picture of yourself, no phone #, nothing. This is just outrageous.

Posted by seattle_parrot on October 7, 2010 at 8:14 AM (PDT)

9

Long live Diaspora! More users need to wake up to Facebook’s invasiveness and make the switch.

Posted by Farnsworth on October 7, 2010 at 11:03 AM (PDT)

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