Six Lines

Facebook Reconsiders Address and Mobile Number Sharing

Posted by Aaron Massey on 20 Jan 2011.

Late last week, Facebook updated their API to allow sharing of address and mobile phone number to third parties through their API. Early this week, after a weekend of howling complaints from the community, Facebook temporarily disabled their changes:

Over the weekend, we got some useful feedback that we could make people more clearly aware of when they are granting access to this data. We agree, and we are making changes to help ensure you only share this information when you intend to do so. We’ll be working to launch these updates as soon as possible, and will be temporarily disabling this feature until those changes are ready. We look forward to re-enabling this improved feature in the next few weeks.

I look forward to seeing the changes they would make. As of right now, this seems like something third parties desperately want and Facebook users don’t see as beneficial. Here’s how Facebook believes their users would benefit:

With this change, you could, for example, easily share your address and mobile phone with a shopping site to streamline the checkout process, or sign up for up-to-the-minute alerts on special deals directly to your mobile phone.

Sounds great on the surface, but do people actually want this? I wonder if it’s sort of like OpenID; even it if is a good solution, do people really see the ‘problem’ as problematic?