Shostack + Friends Blog Archive


I'm not comfortable with that

The language of Facebook’s iPhone app is fascinating:Facebook-iphone.jpg

If you enable this feature, all contacts from your device will be sent to Facebook…Please make sure your friends are comfortable with any use you make of their information.

So first off, I don’t consent to you using that feature and providing my mobile phone number to Facebook. Not giving my cell phone to random web sites (including but not limited to Facebook) was implicit when that number was provided to you. Your continued compliance is appreciated.

What’s really interesting is the way in which this dialog deflects the moral culpability for Facebook’s choices to you. They didn’t have to create a feature that sucked in all the information in your phone book. They could have offered an option to exclude numbers. And why does Facebook even need phone numbers? Their language also implies that such transfers of third party data are not constrained by any law they have to worry about. Perhaps that’s correct in the United States.

But none of that is considered in the brief notice.

I don’t agree.

Screenshot by Dan Biddle.

4 comments on "I'm not comfortable with that"

  • Chris says:

    What a nightmare.

  • Chris Morgan says:

    The Facebook app hasn’t prompted me for this info might this be a UK version of the Facebook app, asking for different information than the US store version?

  • EY says:

    So I’m supposed to poll everyone I know who has a cell phone and is a FB friend to see if they have an iPhone and if they use the FB app and then ask them to de-list me in their address book? That will be *really* convenient for people who have a need to call me….like Mr. EY. Fail, FB, fail.

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