This article was published on May 25, 2010

Facebook takes its time, but responds to the advertising privacy issues.

Facebook takes its time, but responds to the advertising privacy issues.

A few days ago, Facebook (and some others) got called out in a Wall Street Journal article over some privacy issues, both potential and very real.  Following that, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in very plain English that the site had made some mistakes and was going to correct them.

Apparently those corrections start now.

The issues spawned from ways that an unscrupulous advertiser could gather personal information from anyone who clicked a link in Facebook.  Though it’s generally considered to be bad form to use the information gathered through clicks to probe any further, that has never seemed to stop ill-intentioned people in the past and so it was a big issue.

According to an open note, posted on the Facebook Engineering Notes page, the social media giant sees the issue for what it is, and has been working to correct the problems.  Though Facebook engineer Matt Jones does take the opportunity to walk the party line when stating

It’s…important to point out that we don’t share personal information with advertisers, and we never sell any of your information to anyone. The way our advertising system works is advertisers tell us what types of people they want to reach and we take their ad and serve it accordingly.

The fixes being implemented go far beyond the base methods.  In fact, there’s some quite deep coding work involved in order to make certain that the issue doesn’t rear its ugly head again.  Kudos to the Facebook engineers for making this happen.

It seems that Facebook is finally getting down to brass tacks, and figuring out that what the company wants isn’t always in the best interest of the end user.