How Marketers Can Steal Your Public Facebook Data

A recent blog post by Wired Epicenter suggests that the Facebook contact import tool can be easily leveraged and manipulated by rogue marketers looking to expand data within their email list.

According to Facebook’s Andrew Noyes, “We’ve developed several systems to detect and block malicious use of the Friend Finder. For example, we don’t allow users to upload contact lists past a certain size. We also block users who upload contacts at an anomalous rate.”

Despite that statement, here is exactly how email marketers could potentially abuse the system:

  • Visit the friend finder page utilizing a fake Facebook account
  • By clicking on “Upload a contact file” (pictured below), an email marketer can import a marketing list and then view information about any of the users who are on Facebook

It is important to note that the information available for these rogue marketers to collect is information made public by the user. As Wired states:

 “Users should know that the information exposed in this little hack is not unlike that which is turned over to third-party applications whenever you or one of your friends installs an application, including such things as quizzes to decide what kind of pet you are.”

Make sure to consider twice the data and information you decide to “make public” and consider your privacy settings accordingly!