On Monday, The Wall Street Journal ripped into Facebook and its developers, like Zynga, maker of the popular game Farmville, for a privacy loophole that gave advertising and Internet tracking companies access to Facebook users’ IDs, which can be linked back to users’ names. The piece was part of the Journal’s “What They Know” series, which, as you may have guessed from the measured tone of its title, leverages the paper’s investigative might to scare consumers shitless about what’s lurking in their Internet. (News at 11!) The series has previously taken aim at Google, a pet punching bag of News Corp. honcho Rupert Murdoch. As journalism-school professor Jeff Jarvis pointed out, MySpace, a News Corp. product, has the same issue, but didn’t warrant a mention. Other tech and business insiders called the piece overblown. But that didn’t stop Congress from scolding Facebook, or users from taking the issue to court.
California resident Nancy Walther Graf was so alarmed by what she read that she filed a lawsuit yesterday, citing the Journal, claiming that Zynga violated federal electronic-communications privacy laws as well as the state’s computer-crime law. Zynga, it should be noted, has admitted to worse from its early days. But as of noon today, Graf wasn’t freaked out enough about the invasion of privacy to stop sharing rare queen bees or growing calves with her Farmville friends. (We clicked “hide all” on Farmville a long time ago, so we’re not exactly sure how it works.) Maybe the suit alleges that she doesn’t know how to turn it off?
Facebook in Privacy Breach [WSJ]
Facebook and Zynga Face Lawsuits over Privacy Breach [Digits/WSJ]