Facebook to allow third-party access to user's addresses, phone numbers

Facebook has revealed it will allow third parties access to users' information, which has angered US Congressmen. Won't somebody please think of the children?

Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon headshot
Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
Expertise Smartphones, Photography, iOS, Android, gaming, outdoor pursuits Credentials
  • Shortlisted for British Photography Awards 2022, Commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022
Andrew Lanxon
2 min read

Facebook has revealed that it is to continue with its plans to provide detailed user information to third parties. The information will include -- but not be restricted to -- addresses and phone numbers and will be made available to third-party apps, games or websites the user installs.

The new privacy policies being implemented on Facebook don't go against current policy -- users will still have to personally allow each app access to their data and the apps themselves must abide by policy regarding what they do with this data. Still, that hasn't stopped the issue being raised by members of US Congress who are concerned at the level of data being accessed, particularly data from children.

In a lengthy letter to these politicians, Marne Levine, vice president of public policy for Facebook (and a former White House economic advisor), outlined the policy and responded to numerous questions regarding its implementation. Levine explained that access to personal information is given solely at the user's discretion.

In response to concerns about child safety, Levine explained that children under the age of 13 are already not eligible to sign up for Facebook, and that discussions are underway over stricter control of the use of third-party apps by teenagers.

"Facebook is currently considering enhancements to our permissions screen that would highlight for users when they are being asked to share their contact information," she added.

The mighty book of faces may well be the hub of all things social, allowing the instant sharing of cats being businessmen, or cats in boxes, but it has had a long and difficult history surrounding the privacy of its users

Many complaints have been made over the years surrounding the privacy controls of Facebook, calling for them to be easier to understand to allow each user to share information only with the people they choose. 

While we're always vigilant about online security and never give out our contact details -- unless it's to claim that winning Spanish lottery ticket -- we're not too afraid of Facebook's decision. If you want your information to remain private, don't put it online. It's a fairly simple rule. What do you gain from putting your address and phone number online anyway?

What do you think of Facebook's policies? Do you see companies stealing your address and organising massive parties at your house when you're away? Or do you think it will all continue as normal and people should just be vigilant? Let us know in the comments below -- or, of course, on our Facebook page.