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Scary 'Stalker Apps' Silenced by Facebook Due to Security Concerns

We may soon be able to tell all of our Facebook friends exactly where we are, but we won't, apparently, be able to see who's actually following us. It's not that the latest stream of stalker apps to hit Facebook violate some basic human right to privacy; it's that they don't actually work. As the BBC reports, Facebook watchdogs have begun "actively disabling" the rogue apps, including 'Stalker Check' and 'Who has visited my profile.' The apps, they claim, are set up primarily to reel in cash from advertisers and could lead unsuspecting users to sites containing more malicious software or viruses. CounterMeasures demonstrates how many applications earn money by linking users to different Facebook apps and by sending fake requests and notifications to the friends of infected users. In a statement, Facebook warned its members, "Don't believe any applications that claim they can show you who's viewing your profile or photo. They can't."

It's important to note, though, that the impetus behind pulling this bevy of stalker apps seems to be rooted strictly in Facebook's concerns over security, and not privacy (since, of course, privacy is "dead"). We're definitely glad that Facebook is protecting us from the malware that might be lurking in the grasses, but it begs the obvious question of whether or not it would pull these invasive apps if they weren't loaded with viruses. Mark Zuckerberg has stubbornly resisted implementing any sort of vetting process for Facebook apps (a la Apple's iPhone app policy), and maintains that "having an open system anyone can participate in is generally better." In most contexts, there's pretty much nothing wrong with openness. But when it comes to screening apps, a completely open system is also a vulnerable one. Zuckerberg's free market approach to application development, much like free market economics, sounds ideal and elegant, in theory. [From: BBC and CounterMeasures]

Tags: facebook, facebookapps, privacy, security, SocialNetworking, stalker, top, web