Facebook Crosses Line on Privacy ... Again

Recognize that face in an ad? It could be your friend—or you.
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 28, 2009 12:54 PM CDT
A Facebook page.   (Facebook)
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(Newser) – Imagine Peter Smith’s surprise when an ad for “hot singles” on Facebook featured a picture of … his wife. The site blames that flap on a third-party company violating policy, but the incident underscores Facebook’s notoriously unclear privacy settings, writes Bob Sullivan for MSNBC: “A hard-to-spot toggle switch grants the firm, by default, permission to use consumers’ information in advertisements to their friends.”

Though a Facebook rep insists this particular setting wouldn’t have saved Smith’s wife from the “rogue” developer who stole her picture, the snafu is yet another entry in the site’s “long and tortured history of attempting highly targeted advertising by mining data and usage habits from users,” and highlights “why consumers need to focus extra attention on privacy settings for all free sites they use.”