Facebook Apps Can Now Access Phone Numbers and Addresses

Facebook permission

On Friday evening, Facebook quietly announced to application developers that third-party apps will be able to access the addresses and mobile phone numbers of its users.

As the All Facebook blog points out, users must explicitly give permission to third-party apps wanting access to personal information, but many people probably won’t notice the addition of the words “current address and mobile phone number” to the text in the request window, and will likely click “allow” without realizing they’re granting so much access to their data.

This change is consistent with Facebook’s policy of encouraging openness. But for web workers who are increasingly using Facebook for business purposes, such a policy may not be welcome.

Of course, the easiest way to avoid making your postal address and mobile phone number available to third parties is to not include it in your Facebook profile at all. To edit this data, go to “Profile” at the top-right of the Facebook screen, then click on the “Edit Profile” button. From the menu on the left, click on “Contact Information.” Delete any information you may have entered in the “Mobile Phone” and “Address” fields, then click the blue “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the screen.

Note: if you’ve added a phone number in the “Other Phone” field, Facebook will copy that number into the “Mobile Phone” field if you leave the mobile number blank. So you’ll need to erase any phone numbers that you’ve entered into either field.

Do you include your personal contact information on your Facebook page?

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