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Facebook will Continue to Push Phone Number Sharing Feature

March 01, 2011

Facebook Inc. announced it will continue with previous plans that give outside websites and applications access to addresses and mobile-phone numbers from users, a recent article stated.

The giant social media website has not announced exactly when the feature will again become available, but is looking at possible options in order to “enhance user control,” including “potential additions to the permissions screen,” Marne Levine, Facebook vice president of global public policy, wrote in an open letter to U.S. representatives Edward Markey and Joe Barton on Feb. 23.

Currently, Facebook is also still deciding if applications should allow contact information to be requested directly from minors, Levine said in the letter.

Initially debuting on Jan. 14, the feature gave application developers the permission to request contact information from Facebook users, who previously gave their consent. The company shut down the feature only a couple days later, stating in a Jan. 17 blog post that it had received multiple concerns from users who wanted to “become more aware of when they granted access to their data.”

This new feature has already caused great controversy regarding privacy, coming directly from U.S. lawmakers.  Markey, a Democrat from Massachusetts, and Barton, a Republican from Texas, sent a letter on Feb. 2 to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking about the company’s plans for the feature.

“Mobile phone numbers and personal addresses, particularly those that can identify teenagers using Facebook, require special protection,” Markey said in a statement today.

“I’m pleased that Facebook’s response indicated that it’s looking to enhance its process for highlighting for users when they are being asked for permission to share their contact information,” Markey added.

Jamie Epstein is a ContactCenterSolutions Web Editor. Previously she interned at News 12 Long Island as a reporter's assistant. After working as an administrative assistant for a year, she joined TMC as a Web editor for ContactCenterSolutions. Jamie grew up on the North Shore of Long Island and holds a bachelor's degree in mass communication with a concentration in broadcasting from Five Towns College. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Jamie Epstein