Facebook has closed a loophole that allowed third parties to view and collect personal information about members of groups set to the “closed” privacy setting. An extension for Google’s Chrome browser called Grouply.io was specifically made to allow third parties to collect names, locations, email addresses, employers, and other personal data from Facebook groups, according to a report from CNBC.

What finally caused Facebook to close the loophole were complaints from a group of women with the BRCA gene, a gene mutation associated with an elevated risk of breast cancer. The BRCA Sisterhood group, which did not want members’ names to be known, ran a “closed” Facebook group. Technically, “secret” is Facebook’s most restrictive setting, but choosing to make a group “secret” hides it from public listings entirely. The BRCA Sisterhood was open to new members and selected the “closed” setting for that reason.

A security researcher who helped the BRCA Sisterhood moderators investigate whether the plugin could harvest their personal information also found that Facebook groups for individuals coping with other sensitive issues, such as addiction recovery and HIV/AIDS, were easily searchable using the Chrome plugin.

This type of personal data can be used in marketing and advertising. But …read more

Source:: Fortune.com – Tech


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