Privacy no longer a barrier on Facebook: Just Ask!

If you want to know who your friends and acquaintances are dating or where they grew up, you no longer need to wait for them to share those details on Facebook -- the site has introduced a new 'Ask' button, allowing users to send unsolicited requests for personal information.


Facebook has quietly rolled out the Ask feature on its site, giving users the opportunity to flesh out the data that they can't see on a friend's page. The less information the person has made public on their profile, the more there is to Ask.

Whether it's more general details of where they work and where they went to school, or more specific information such as a person's address, phone number or email address everything is up for grabs.

When the info is requested, the user will receive a notification from that friend (along with a personal message if they chose to write one) and then a list of options for replying -- options that are themselves taken from other friends' profiles.

While a person's hometown or workplace might be fairly straightforward, the option to ask a person's relationship status has raised a few eyebrows. After all, what if "it's complicated"?

Either way, there's no obligation to reply to the questions. But it could lead some Facebook users to question whether they really want to be handing out that info to the thousands of 'friends' they've accumulated over the years.

Screenshot by CNET

Tech Culture
About the author

Claire Reilly is CNET's news writer, based in Sydney, Australia. When she's not breaking stories, she's a part-time Simpsons guru, hair metal enthusiast and blue cheese aficionado.


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