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How secure are your Facebook photos?

Everyone has seen those annoying little pop-up ads for “Hot Singles Want to Meet You Now” that are part of the endless clutter of Internet advertising. Now imagine the smiling image used to promote the service is of your wife. That’s what happened to Cheryl Smith’s husband recently. But don’t worry – Ms. Smith hadn’t actually gone looking for a little extra-marital excitement – she’d just fallen victim to the latest bit of Facebook-related privacy mischief. It seems that a third party advertiser was creating ads for Facebook and they grabbed Ms. Smith’s profile photo for use in their ad. (For those of you who just raced to change your privacy settings on Facebook, don’t bother. This type of third party use of Facebook assets apparently isn’t covered by any user-controlled setting.)

Facebook has had some privacy upheavals in the past. In 2007, the company started tracking purchases made by their users and sharing this data with other Facebook users. After a brief, but well-publicized, protest by Facebook users the company discontinued this practice.

The good news here is that Facebook contacted the advertiser and Ms. Smith’s image was pulled from the ad. According to their spokesman, Barry Schnitt: “The ads that spooked people were from rogue networks that have been dealt with. The ads were removed, some ad networks were banned from Facebook, and developers were warned.”

The bad news is that there is no way to guarantee that something like this won’t happen again.

Link to the original article: http://redtape.msnbc.com/2009/07/hey-peter-the-ad-said-hot-singles-are-waiting-for-you-he-might-have-dismissed-the-advertisement-which-appeared-on-his-fa.html

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