Facebook Outs Gays?

Via Jesse Walker at Reason Magazine, an interesting tidbit on some flaws in Facebook’s security setup. Apparently, Facebook reveals information about users sexual orientation to advertisers, even when that information is hidden.

“The danger with such ads, unlike the gay bar ad where the target demographic is blatantly obvious, is that the user reading the ad text would have no idea that by clicking it he would reveal to the advertiser both his sexual-orientation and a unique identifier (cookie, IP address, or email address if he signs up on the advertiser’s site),” wrote the researchers.

If the advertiser in question also collects other data, such as Facebook ID, the info can be tied together without much thought, even if the user has not made that information public. As we saw earlier this week, Facebook IDs and other user info are running rampant across ad networks and third-party app developers, and the collection of such information (especially when tied to something as sensitive as sexual orientation) could spell disaster for a user who thinks he’s being fastidious when keeping his profile private.

Read the whole thing here.


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