Friday, May 2, 2008

Facebook Personal Details at Risk?

A report by the BBC yesterday highlights that personal details of users on Facebook could be 'harvested' with relative ease by using mailicious code hiding behind any one of the numerous applications available to users.

This potential privacy scare comes on the back of a string of identity theft concerns facing Facebook and other social networking sites. The BBC already made a claim back in February that Facebook users sticking to the default settings may be targeted by fraudsters and expose their personal details to misuse.

The scare relating to malicious applications is a real one, given that most of these programs access the user's personal details stored on their profile whether this is required or not by the game, joke or other type of application.

An expert interviewed by the BBC stated that Facebook needed to tighten up its security to prevent members from being exposed to identity theft.

Facebook responded that it 'has an entire Investigations Team that watches the site and removes content and third-party applications that violate Facebook's Terms of Use. Facebook users also police the site and use the "report" button if they come across violators of our Terms of Use'.

Will this mixture of self-patrolling and In-house investigation be sufficient to stem the flow of privacy issues facing Facebook and other communities in the light of an ever more open Web and Mobile 2.0 ecosystem?