Facebook backs down over contact info controversy

Facebook backs down over contact info controversy
San Francisco: Facebook has backtracked over a new feature that would have shared users' addresses and  mobile phone numbers with developers of applications on the popular social networking site.

Facebook announced the change late Monday night just three days after the introduction of the new feature was met with howls of protest from privacy advocates.

The new feature appeared whenever users installed a new application.

In the past, such actions prompted a menu in which users were asked whether they wished to share personal details such as their name, picture, friends lists and other general information with the application provider.

Under the new system, the same menu also asked users to share their contact information, without providing any extra warnings about the possible perils of doing so.

Privacy advocates immediately blasted this omission, and to Facebook's credit, the company acted quickly to close the security loophole by disabling the new feature.

"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," Facebook wrote on its developer blog.

"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."