Facebook is yet again found guilty for a privacy glitch infuriating the users and the feds. But this time its not alone as other social networking sites are too charged for (unknowingly) compromising with the personal information of their users. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Hi5 and others have been sending personal and identifiable information of their users to their advertising partners without prior consent.
The news has once again raised the privacy concerns in the social mediasphere adding another black star to Facebooks already tarnished image concerning online privacy. According to WSJ, the advertising companies like Google’s DoubleClick and Yahoo’s Right Media were reported to have been receiving the information about the username or ID numbers . These could be leveraged to track back to the profile of the users who may have clicked on the ads revealing his public data like the username, age, location and so on. Apart from Facebook and MySpace, other sites including Digg, Xanga, Hi5 and LiveJournal have been found equally blameworthy.
The only question that strikes in our minds is that were these sites aware of any such transfer of information? The answer from both the sides is a bog NO. Facebook has announced that it has fixed the problem and that it has “been working on ways to no longer include user IDs in Referer: URLs.”
This seems an everlasting battle getting dirty each day. Whether or not these social networking sites are concerned about the confidentiality of the personal information of the users on their sites, they do make big promises citing the user privacy as their top priority. But we cannot ignore the fact that such kind of information can prove a boon for the advertisers helping them to target audience based on user preferences. So are these networks actually playing a foul game undercover? Whatever it may be but with privacy regulators and advocacy groups getting more critic about Facebook and its business practices, the company cannot get out of this dark pit so easily.