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Facebook move will compromise user data – Bollywood better watch out.

By Flynn Remedios – Futuristic Media Network

According to news reports popular social networking site Facebook.com has announced a marketing ploy that may bring in revenues for the site, but will greatly compromise user data and individual privacy.

The website will permit search engines like Google to index its user database using keywords and other ‘tags’ and throw up user data when queried through a search engine.

Many Bollywood personalities have their profiles on Facebook and many media professionals like this journalist mention contact details like email ids and even telephone or mobile contact numbers.

The idea being that till now, Facebook or even Orkut details could be accessed only to members and only those ‘certified’ by a user as a ‘friend’ was allowed to access contact data including other personal data like hobbies, etc.

According to technology website Techtree.com the public search function will allow anybody to search for a specific person on Facebook. And this includes people not registered with the social networking Web site.
According to information put out by Facebook, the feature will show a thumbnail of the specific member from his/her profile page, plus links letting others interact with him/her. However for a person to be able to add someone as friend or send a message, he/she has to register with Facebook.

Around a month down the line, the public search feature will allow people to find member profiles — complete with names, photographs, and other details — through search engines such as Google, Yahoo!, and MSN.

Despite Facebook’s claims to the contrary, privacy advocates are voicing security concerns with respect to the move. They are hugely worried about private data falling into the wrong hands — and of being used for all the wrong reasons…

Meanwhile, Facebook says the move is driven purely by profit motives and that the information revealed would be minimal, said Techtree.

Besides, the Web site claims that those who want to prevent personal information from being accessed by all-and-sundry on the Web can simply opt out of the feature or change their privacy settings. Either ways, they have one month to do so.

Whatever the case, Facebook is risking the ire of many with its latest move. Considering that just last year, users expressed anger when the Web site introduced a ‘news feed’ feature that informs everyone on a contact list as to when the user makes changes to his/her profile page.
Bollywood personalities like Shahid Kapoor and a host of other ‘media kinds’ who are avid Facebook fans may have to change their “settings’ or even go underground as their personal email ids and at times phone numbers are likely to become the target of spammers or ‘bots’ – automated search engines that scan the web for ‘programmed information’ like email ids or phone numbers.

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