Facebook is having a mixed year. On one hand, the social network succeeded last month in integrating itself with more than 50,000 Web sites to become a better portal from which users can search the Internet. On the other hand, concerns over privacy on Facebook (or the lack thereof) have reached a fever pitch.
To add fuel to the fire, The Wall Street Journal reported last night that Facebook had leaked information about the social network’s members to advertisers. “The practice… sends user names or ID numbers tied to personal profiles being viewed when users click on ads,” the Journal reports. The worry is that advertisers can use this information to look at a user’s profile and discover where they live, what they do for a living and more.
Other social networks like MySpace, Digg and Xanga are also guilty of doing this, but as the Journal notes, it’s a more sensitive issue for Facebook. "The issue is particularly significant for Facebook on two fronts: the company has been pushing users to make more of their personal information public and the site requires users to use their actual names when registering on the site.” Plus, as CNET notes, Facebook explicitly guarantees that it will not share users’ personal information without their consent.