Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg  (Source: Wikipedia)
Email addresses on private accounts were visible for about 30 minutes

One of the biggest concerns for anyone online today is privacy. With more and more information about individuals ending up online, it is easy for friends and foes alike to find information about people online without the person knowing or approving of the data being made available.

Facebook is the largest social network in the world and as such, it tends to run into problems with user privacy. The company now has had another privacy issue where user emails were made viewable by the public, even address for accounts that were private. TFTS reports that late Tuesday night some sort of issue with Facebook made email address public for about 30 minutes. What caused the issue is unknown and there is no information on exactly how many of the millions of Facebook users were affected by the outage.

TFTS reports that while unconfirmed, the glitch that revealed email addresses could be a result of changes being made on the backend at Facebook to facilitate more open access to cookies for its Facebook Connect advertisers. The new Facebook Connect privacy policy will let pre-approved third-party advertisers look at Facebook cookies on users’ machine to gather information to better target ads to the user. The new feature is enabled by default and the user has to opt-out of using it if they don’t want advertisers viewing information from the cookie.

At this time, Facebook has offered no official statement on how the glitch happened or how widespread the email issue was. Reports of the email issue first started coming in via Twitter posts and Facebook status updates.

To facilitate the migration from the Facebook of today to the advertising maven that Facebook hopes to become in an effort to generate cash, changes in privacy settings are needed. In December 2009, Facebook announced serious changes to its privacy settings that made more of the information in a users profile searchable and viewable by the public. This privacy change led to outrage by many users and privacy advocates.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated in January that people no longer have the same expectations of privacy online. Facebook isn’t alone in privacy issues though; Google learned the hard way to ask users before it makes information available to other users when it launched Buzz. At first, the Buzz service made email histories available to a large number of users without specific permission from the account holder.

"Nowadays, security guys break the Mac every single day. Every single day, they come out with a total exploit, your machine can be taken over totally. I dare anybody to do that once a month on the Windows machine." -- Bill Gates
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