Is Facebook Fiddling With Your Mobile Phone Contacts?

Oh dear – more bad news for Facebook. The beleaguered behemoth of social media let slip – by way of a blogpost from their chief technology officer – that Cambridge Analytica may have improperly shared an additional 37 million user’s data – significantly up from the 50 million noted in earlier reports. Ouch!

This will undoubtedly add to the concern that many users – both individuals and businesses – will have about trusting the company with their data. There’s no doubt that Facebook are working hard to address their previously rather “liberal” approach to sharing data with 3rd party developers but it may be too little, too late for many users.

Just today we had a new client mention that they “wouldn’t be using Facebook anytime soon”. Do we think that this is justified? Is this the end of Facebook? Folks have been predicting the latter for many years and they’re still here. Whether that speaks more to some user’s compulsion for viewing “funny” cat videos or the fact that it is actually a useful communication platform for businesses and individuals is up for debate.

Perhaps those most concerned with the repetitional damage are those companies that have built their business model around Facebook’s marketing & advertising services? The phrase “eggs in one basket” springs to mind.

As to “stealing phone numbers”, this is kind of an old story too (see this from 2011) but it did prompt several of team SeaDog to download their personal data just to see exactly what data being stored. That turns out to be almost everything associated with your Facebook usage  – from a list of advertisers with your contact details to your friends list – existing and those you removed.

And yes, there is something unsettling about seeing lists of contact numbers & email addresses for people you don’t even remember meeting. But it seems likely, we’re told, that we signed up for all of this when we didn’t read the small – make that tiny – print. If you’d like a quick reference to the data that Facebook actually hold own you – and how to download it – they’ll tell you here. See? They’re not that secretive … really.