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Congressmen Press Zuckerberg on Facebook's Data Sharing Practices

Mark Zuckerberg
Last month, Facebook temporarily suspended a controversial new feature that would have allowed third-party app developers to access sensitive user information, including home addresses and telephone numbers. At the time, the company said it would relaunch the service at a later date, but two U.S. congressmen think Facebook should tread carefully.

Yesterday, Representatives Edward Markey and Joe Barton sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, inquiring about the motivation behind launching the new feature, and asking what the social network would do to modify it. "Facebook needs to protect the personal information of its users to ensure that Facebook doesn't become Phonebook," reads a statement from Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat. "This is sensitive data and needs to be protected."

In response, Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes reiterated that users retain ultimate control over their information, but did not elaborate upon possible changes to the forthcoming feature. "We enable people to share this information only after they explicitly authorize individual applications to access it," Noyes said in a statement. "This system of user permissions was designed in collaboration with a number of privacy experts. Following the rollout of this new feature, we heard some feedback, and agree that there may be additional improvements we could make."

Tags: apps, congress, EdwardMarkey, facebook, JoeBarton, MarkZuckerberg, politics, privacy, SocialNetworking, top