Facebook Inc(NASDAQ:FB) is known to have no scruples about taking users private details and using them for its own purposes, mostly to generate revenues from targeted advertisements.
And users try to guard their privacy zealously. If they only knew how cheaply the information they hold dear is being traded in the outside world, it would make them squirm.
Some one million Facebook users' names have been bought by a Bulgarian blogger for about five dollars. Bogomail Shopov, who is also a digital rights activist bought the entire collection of 1.1 million Facebook names, user IDs and emails posted to the social marketing site Gigbucks earlier this month.
“I just bought more than 1 million… Facebook data entries,” Shopov wrote on his blog on Tuesday. “OMG!”
Andy Greenberg of Forbes spoke to Shopov about his purchase.
"When I reached Shopov on the phone, he said that he had verified several names and email addresses of his own friends among the list. And he says the data wasn’t merely scraped from public profiles–he checked several email addresses to confirm that they weren’t publicly displayed on the users’ pages."
The data was sold by a Gigbucks user who collected it from various Facebook applications. Any application on the Facebook platform asks for permission to allow it to use user's information as well as information about their friends.
Once this information is in the hands of the application, which is run by third party developers, users have little or no control over it and no way of knowing how it is being utilised.
Greenburg said that Facebook sent him a statement saying that it was looking into the apparent breach of its users' data, as it exposed them to the dangers of spamming and phishing attacks.