Facebook Having Second Thoughts About Sharing Personal Data?

Filed as News on January 18, 2011 5:27 pm

Facebook Phone Number Approval ScreenAfter revealing plans to share users personal information and phone numbers to developers, Facebook is now sending the idea back to the drawing board in order to avoid another privacy fiasco.

Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks. (Facebook Developer Blog)

While receiving millions of mobile numbers from potential customers is something every marketer dreams of, the last thing many users want is a flood of spam via SMS or voicemail from companies they encountered upon Facebook.

Although Facebook is still insisting at making this information available to developers, it might be wiser for the social juggernaut to find a way for marketers to contact users without directly exposing their mobile numbers to various corporations (sort of like how Google Voice hides your mobile number when someone calls).

Truth be told this move is a huge gamble for Facebook, who could not only face backlash from users (who may simply remove their personal numbers off of the site), but also once again become the whipping boy of Congress.

(hat tip: GigaOm)

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