Facebook apps leak user information, students annoyed

Several popular Facebook applications have been giving users’ personal identifying information to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

Facebook said it is working to fix the problem, and was quick to point out that the leaks were not intentional, but a consequence of basic Web mechanisms.

“In most cases, developers did not intend to pass this information, but did so because of the technical details of how browsers work,” said Facebook engineer Mike Vernal in a blog post Monday.

Facebook said in a statement that there is “no evidence that any personal information was misused or even collected as a result of this issue.”

“It’s a business, so Facebook has to do it to some extent,” said senior Renee Lamers about the online social network’s sharing of personal information. “It’s annoying but I don’t really pay attention to it very much.”

Sophomore Melissa Aalund agreed that advertising’s connection with Facebook is annoying.

“It kind of feels like an invasion of privacy,” she said.

Some privacy advocates said it’s problematic that the information was leaked at all, regardless of what happened to it.

Jordan Osterman contributed to this story.

Cynthia Johnson can be reached at john3175@stthomas.edu.