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Facebook Friday-evening news dump: an app crackdown and a 'Mobile Event'

Facebook saved the end of the week for a couple of announcements: one potentially reassuring, the other puzzling.

The first aims to close the door on the not-all-that-scary privacy scare over Facebook applications leaking user IDs to outside sites.

The data in question is nothing particularly private -- your username or user number, the name listed on your profile and your profile photo are visible to everybody on Facebook and, unless you change privacy settings, to anybody on the Web. But apps that relayed the information off the site still broke Facebook rules.

In a post on its developers blog, the Palo Alto, Calif., social network outlined how it plans to stop this from happening again. First, it will require all application developers to anonymize user IDs before sharing them outside of their apps or with any advertising networks.

The post goes on to note that Facebook found that "a dozen, mostly small developers" had sold user IDs to data brokers. It's banning them from the site for six months and exiling data broker Rapleaf:

We have also reached an agreement with Rapleaf, the data broker who came forward to work with us on this situation. Rapleaf has agreed to delete all UIDs in its possession, and they have agreed not to conduct any activities on the Facebook Platform (either directly or indirectly) going forward.


(Disclaimer: Post Co. chairman Donald E. Graham might have had a hand in these decisions, as he sits on Facebook's board of directors. These moves also might affect the Post, as the paper markets itself extensively on Facebook.)

Facebook's other news arrived in an e-mail sent to reporters at about 7:30 p.m. Eastern, inviting them to a "Mobile Event" on its campus on the morning of Nov. 3. The graphic in the message, as seen above, doesn't exactly clarify the invitation's meaning. Could the news be the rumored "Facebook phone"? Or is there some deeper mobile-technology mystery to be revealed next Wednesday?

Cue up Tom Waits's "What's He Building?" and share your guesses in the comments.

By Rob Pegoraro  | October 29, 2010; 9:00 PM ET
Categories:  Mobile, Privacy, Security, Social media  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Cablevision-Fox slapfest drags on; will Dish be next?
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After I did a search for a particular person, I got a screen from an app, Super Gifts, asking for permission to access my info. No matter how many times I clicked on "don't allow", the app refused to let me proceed. Why ever would Facebook allow such an app to block the user from doing anything else?

Posted by: panamacanuck | November 1, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

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