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Friday, 05 February 2010 12:16

Facebook denies that it is spying on users

Written by Nick Farell


Image

Chainletter should be dismissed


Social notworking
site Facebook has denied that a chainletter which is being distributed on its site is telling the truth about users who can read all their personal data.

The email reads: "All FB friends. This is important. Do this asap! Go to settings. Click on privacy settings. Click on block users. in [sic] the name box enter 'automation labs'. A list of approx 20 people you dont even know will come up. Block each one individually. These people have access to your facebook account/profile and spy on what you do … "

In a statement Facebook said that the chain message claims certain users have special access to profile information. It’s not true, and we don’t know where it originated. The message exploits a standard Facebook search feature within the settings on a user's Facebook page.

Facebook's privacy settings include a feature to block certain people from a user's profile. Once a user types the name of the person he wishes to block, Facebook generates a list of all Facebook users with either that name, a similar name or people associated with the name. So if a user typed in Automation Labs as directed, a window popped up listing people associated with Automation Labs.

However typing in any name will produce a similar list of associated users or those with similar names. All the chain mail does is instruct Facebook users to block people they probably don't know, which is harmless.

Nick Farell

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