Facebook Tells Congress It Will Share Your Phone Number With Strangers

Mark Zuckerberg Facebook CEO

Photo: Ludovic Toinel

Facebook will go ahead with plans to allow third-party developers access to its users phone numbers and home addresses, the company told Congress in a letter to Representatives Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Joe Barton (R-Texas).In the letter, Facebook says it will give users control over which third-parties have access to this information.

“If the user wants to permit the application to obtain the information identified, he or she can authorise the application. If, by contrast, the user is not comfortable sharing the information the application is requesting, the user can decline to authorise the application.”

Facebook says there is “a standard screen, presented o the user at the moment the user is deciding whether to authorise the application, which identifies precisely what information the application requires to operate.”

It looks like this:

Facebook Permission request

Facebook first began allowing third-parties to access user phone numbers and other profile information – with users’ permission – back in January. But the feature was quickly suspended.

Facebook said it took that step because it got “useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data,”

The letter to Congress, dated February 23, was Facebook’s way of saying the feature is coming back, and explaining why.

Click here to read the letter >>

Click here for a click-by-click guide on how to stop Facebook from sharing your phone number with strangers >>

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