Facebook announced today that application developers can now have access to user contact information. This means that when you install a 3rd party Facebook application the developer can request access to any information you include the following fields:
This news was met with outcries from privacy advocates as the next Facebook privacy debacle. It is important to note that developers can’t access this information at will. Users must grant access to each Facebook application individually. For this reason, some users say nothing foul is afoot.
I would tend to agree with the later, except for the fact that Facebook has had serious problems with data leaks before. It was just October of last year when a Wall Street Journal article exposed Facebook applications passing user data to popular third party applications like Farmville. In the October breach, tens of millions of user accounts were compromised and dozens of third party application developers had access to “forbidden” user data. This incident brought into question Facebook’s ability to secure user data on its platform.
So the big question is do you trust Facebook enough to secure your contact information from restricted developers. If you don’t then you should remove your address and phone numbers from your account profile. Also, if you do intend on leaving this data on your profile, you need to carefully evaluate current and future Facebook applications installed on your account.