Update: The current version of the Facebook iPhone app has a warning for syncing users. Those who synced with an old version won’t have seen the warnings though, and we’re still left wondering where some numbers in our Facebook address book have come from, and exactly what usage rights Facebook has over the content. There’s a large remove data button in the Facebook app when you have sync turned on but that appears to just delete Facebook contact info from the phone. Removing the details from the web which have been synced isn’t simply explained. It seems you need to turn off the sync function in the iPhone app and visit this link (which doesn’t currently seem to be working). We’re still chasing Facebook and Apple for comment on the outstanding issues.
If you use the Facebook iPhone app sync feature you might not have realised it does more than add pictures to your address book. A piece by The Guardian’s Charles Arthur points out today that the Facebook iPhone app also uploads all the numbers in your phone’s address book to Facebook, seemingly without warning. It’s a move that puts Facebook on a collision course with Apple, as it breaches app store guidelines. So why is Facebook still in the App store and Apple ads if it’s breaking the rules?
Kurt von Moos, quoted in The Guardian’s, says: “Facebook doesn’t warn users that they are uploading their phone’s address book to Facebook. In fact, because Facebook doesn’t sync contact number or email addresses TO your phone, most users wrongly assume that Facebook Contact Sync only syncs user pictures. In reality, they are pumping your address book, without consent.”