Facebook Apps Reveal Users' Private Info: Report

By Jessica Greene
|  Thursday, Oct 21, 2010  |  Updated 12:21 PM PDT
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Facebook Apps Reveal Users' Private Info: Report

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PALO ALTO, CA - MAY 26: Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive officer of Facebook, holds a press conference at their headquarters, May 26, 2010 in Palo Alto, California. Zuckerberg outlined Facebook's new privacy control methods. (Photo by Kim White/Getty Images)

Your personal link to your friends and family is under fire today after another report that says it's been involved in a privacy breach.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that 10 Facebook applications are opening the door to users' personal identifying information for dozens of advertising and Internet companies.

The issue is reportedly affecting tens of millions of Facebook's 500 million users who downloaded game apps. Even those with the strictest settings are getting hit in this breach, regardless of what the users' privacy settings are set to allow.

Here's what a Facebook spokesman told the Journal on Sunday:

A Facebook user ID may be inadvertently shared by a user's Internet browser or by an application ... Our technical systems have always been complemented by strong policy enforcement, and we will continue to rely on both to keep people in control of their information.

The apps are made by outside software developers. Bay Area-based Zynga's wildly popular Farmville, Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille are among them.

Facebook's structure assigns a user ID to each member and with this breach, that unique ID is being sent to advertisers. The ID number is a public part of any user's profile and with it,  anyone can gain access to the user's name and private information.

The Journal reports that many of the apps were unavailable to users after they contacted the company about the privacy issue but it remains unclear why there were unavailable.

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