07:15 PM

Facebook Launches Friendship Pages, Raises Privacy Concerns

The new feature can show the relationship between two Facebook friends through the public information they've shared between each other through Wall posts, photos and more.

Facebook has raised privacy concerns again among some users by launching a feature that can show the relationship between two friends through the public information they've shared between each other.

Called "Friendship Pages," the feature, which is being rolled out gradually, would be accessible through a link under relevant Wall posts, relationship stories and the main photo on a person's profile page. Clicking the link would launch a standalone page that would include public Wall posts between the two people, photos in which both are tagged, events they have RSVP'd for together, mutual friends and mutual "likes."

Friendship Pages could only be retrieved by someone who is a friend with at least one of the two people and who has permission to view both their profiles. "When it's between two people who share a lot, the page really starts to reflect their friendship," Wayne Kao, the Facebook software engineer who developed the feature, said on the company's blog Thursday.

The new feature did draw concerns from some Facebook users. "While I'm all for innovation, privacy should come first," Rob Ahnemann, said on the comments section of Kao's blog. "If you introduce a new feature, notify the community when it arrives. (And) give a clear opt-in or opt-out button."

Others, however, felt the privacy concerns were overblown. "If you don't appreciate new applications because you perceive them a threat to the privacy of your golden gem of a Facebook profile, you are free to leave Facebook and no one will miss you," Amanda Meyer said.

Nearly every feature Facebook introduces is looked at through the privacy prism. Because Facebook's business is about helping people communicate, plan get-togethers and share photos and video of friends and family, the site cannot ignore the impact any new feature will have on privacy. Facebook's record on privacy is spotty and concerns over the handling of its 500 million users' personal information is under scrutiny by Congress.

To avoid having personal information seen by strangers or acquaintances, Facebook users need to carefully choose the people they allow into their social network, Augie Ray, analyst for Forrester Research, told InformationWeek. "Whom you follow and whom you friend are part of the privacy equation."


Facebook Places A Bet Against Google

Facebook Places Privacy First

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
E-Commerce Security: What Every Enterprise Needs to Know
The mainstream use of EMV smartcards in the US has experts predicting an increase in online fraud. Organizations will need to look at new tools and processes for building better breach detection and response capabilities.
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
Published: 2015-10-15
The Direct Rendering Manager (DRM) subsystem in the Linux kernel through 4.x mishandles requests for Graphics Execution Manager (GEM) objects, which allows context-dependent attackers to cause a denial of service (memory consumption) via an application that processes graphics data, as demonstrated b...

Published: 2015-10-15
netstat in IBM AIX 5.3, 6.1, and 7.1 and VIOS 2.2.x, when a fibre channel adapter is used, allows local users to gain privileges via unspecified vectors.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in eXtplorer before 2.1.8 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users for requests that execute PHP code.

Published: 2015-10-15
Directory traversal vulnerability in QNAP QTS before 4.1.4 build 0910 and 4.2.x before 4.2.0 RC2 build 0910, when AFP is enabled, allows remote attackers to read or write to arbitrary files by leveraging access to an OS X (1) user or (2) guest account.

Published: 2015-10-15
Cisco Application Policy Infrastructure Controller (APIC) 1.1j allows local users to gain privileges via vectors involving addition of an SSH key, aka Bug ID CSCuw46076.

Dark Reading Radio