Kim Hart expresses Facebook’s statement in her news article: “More than 95 percent of Facebook users have installed at least one application” (Hart). She also writes about Adrienne Felt’s research showing that “90 percent of the [150 most popular] applications have unnecessary access to private data” (Hart). This equates to the point that Facebook users’ private information is being exposed to application developers who do not actually need the information for the purpose of the application. The users voluntarily choose to share their information with the application, and resultantly its developers, but often users do not think about the possible consequences of sharing this information. Releasing personal information to anyone, and especially application developers who generally understand technology well enough to hack, could lead to identity theft, stalking, and even more serious crimes. As a way to prevent these unfortunate happenings, Facebook users, the company of Facebook, and application developers should act more responsibly.
In this dilemma, Facebook is the central point for information exchange. Because it is the center of the issue, and ultimately the reason why the information can be exchanged in the first place, Facebook should be held most accountable for responsible privacy protection. In order to counter the privacy concerns, Facebook could constitute a website-wide awareness for sharing excessive information. The company might explain the benefits and drawbacks to specific privacy settings when the users select their privacy levels. Facebook could also look into evaluating applications and their pull of information before the applications are released to public users. The director of Facebook’s platform, Ben Ling, explained that there are privacy restrictions in place for applications, but “swift enforcement” does not occur until Facebook finds a violation (Hart). By halting potential applications before (instead of after) the public can share unnecessary information as well as educating users about the dangers of information sharing, Facebook will strengthen the privacy and safety of its users.
Hart, Kim. “A Flashy Facebook Page, at a Cost to Privacy.” Washington Post 12 Jun 2008, n. pag. Web. 20 May. 2013.