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by Senior Editor

Facebook halts controversial sharing feature -for now

Jan 18, 20111 min
CybercrimeData and Information SecurityFacebook

After concerns about privacy and security, Facebook has disabled a new feature that gave application developers and third-party sites the ability to gather sensitive user information

Facebook said Monday it will temporarily disable a controversial feature that allows application developers and third-party web sites to access the mobile phone numbers and addresses of certain users.

The feature had sparked criticism among privacy and security advocates who cautioned the ability to gather such personal details from users opened up more doors for potential abuse, such SMS spamming, or possibly even identity theft.

See also: Social media risks: The basics

The feature also raised eyebrows because, while Facebook requests users to sign off on the feature before it is enabled, security firms feared many users would not understand that they were giving permission to app developers and third parties to access their information.

Facebook, in a blog post on its developer’s site, said it will suspend the feature after receiving what it called ‘useful feedback’ and said it would be revamping the tool to ensure users in the future are ‘clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data.’