updated 03:20 pm EDT, Mon September 24, 2007
New York Facebook Probe
New York State today revealed that it was investigating Facebook over privacy concerns, alleging that the social website is not doing enough to shield contact information and other details of users. A study conducted by the state government suggests that the company's claims of security appear to be contradicted by actual results, with information sometimes exposed to the public. Complaints from Facebook members about privacy have also sometimes gone unheeded, according to state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. In some cases, sample accounts posing as teenagers or children were approached by sexual predators, he noted. Facebook has not commented on the claims but said it would respond soon.
The formal complaint highlights a problem underscored by the social networking site's dramatic growth. In recent months, Facebook has been criticized for making many of a user's actions and personal details public by default, which would allow any friend on the network to see a home address, phone number, or relationship status. Facebook recently addressed some of this by introducing a limited profile option for accepting a friend that shows only some information, though it does not come enabled by default.