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Sites Sent User Data to Advertisers


May 21, 2010

The Wall Street Journal reports that Facebook, MySpace and other social networking sites have been sharing data with advertising companies, potentially in breach of industry standards and their own privacy policies. In reviewing the code of seven sites at the request of the newspaper, Harvard Business School Associate Professor Ben Edelman found that when a user clicks on ads, the sites send the user name or ID numbers tied to the personal profile, giving advertisers the potential to find out more about the person behind the ad. The professor wrote to the Federal Trade Commission yesterday to request an investigation. According to the report, Facebook has changed its code to address the issue. Many of the advertisers receiving the data, meanwhile, said they have not made use of it. (Registration may be required to access this story.)
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