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User Privacy On Facebook: A Fairytale?

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On Friday morning, Facebook deactivated the LOLapps, alleging that the developer was sharing user data, Facebook's contract specifically prohibits such activity. Developers may not share user information with ad networks or data brokers.
''We take strong measures to enforce this policy, including suspending and disabling applications that violate it,'' said Mike Vernal.



The CEO of LOLapps, Arjun Sethi, made statements in a blog post on Monday, saying, ''It has been a big weekend in the news for privacy and Facebook applications. As [Sunday's] Facebook developer blog post states, 'In most cases, developers did not intend to pass this information, but did so because of the technical details of how browsers work.' This statement applies to LOLapps.''

Several questions come up upon hearing such a statement. Is Lolapps guilty of sharing user data, even if they did so unintentionally? Should the user care if it was done intentionally or not? Is the user entitled to any retribution?
''When we were informed of the issue the relationship that put us into this category was immediately dissolved,'' Sethi went on to say.

It has been speculated that Facebook was tipped off about the privacy scandal by a Wall Street Journal article that investigated the sharing of Facebook user IDs. The investigation researched the alleged transmission of user data to independent ad networks, as well as Internet tracking services.

One of Facebook's most astounding successes, the popular farming simulator, Farmville, included, were found to be transmitting personal information regarding a player's friends. RapLeaf Inc., was caught linking Facebook ID info with their own database of users. Allegedly, RapLeaf sold information to 12 or more ad firms, using LOLapps' Facebook applications.

The finding brings to light the role of user privacy, an issue that has plagued Facebook for years.

A Facebook spokesperson had this to say about the issue, ''Our technical systems have always been complemented by a strong policy enforcement, and we will continue to rely on both to keep people in control of their information.''


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