ATTN: The 80 million idiots playing FarmVille or other games 25 x 8 on Facebook

I knew this was happening all along. The Wall Street Journal reports, many Facebook applications have been leaking user information – specifically, Facebook UIDs – to third party companies. Guess who the leading apps in the list are? Zynga’s FarmVille, Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille; according to AppData, FarmVille alone had over  80 million users in February 2010.

The screw up has also been confirmed in facebook’s  blog post –  due to “technical details” my ass! “Our policy is very clear about protecting user data” That’s the biggest joke in the world. How can they say it’s policy is very clear when they don’t follow their own policy!

The apps in question have a huge combined userbase; according to the WSJ, all of the 10 most popular Facebook apps are guilty of giving away user ID’s to third parties, specifically internet research and advertising companies.

The WSJ claims that some of the apps created by LOLapps were also transmitting user info to third parties. LOLapps has confirmed this was the case in a blog post, claiming it shared the info inadvertently.

If you are still an idiot and wish to waste your time and your company time on FarmVille, at least try this. To be frank, I am note quite sure about my solution below. However, from what I know about Facebook Privacy setting, I think it might work.


Change  “everyone” in your privacy setting to something more private.  Knowing the ID of a Facebook user who shares information with “Everyone” can potentially give these app makers  access to your name, phone number, e-mail, photos and other personal info. Even if you have set the strictest possible privacy settings on your account on Facebook, the ID may still reveal your name and Facebook friends.

As for the Advertising Agencies, depending on your privacy settings on Facebook, the agencies can find out your name and the names of your friends.

Going forward, you should know this by heart that you can’t allow every app to access your Facebook info. Though I would suggest not to use ANY app at all. Facebook is good for social networking online, not gaming.

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About Elias Shams
I have been a serial entrepreneur in telecom and social media space for past 12 years or so. I hold a M.S. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the George Washington University and a B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Maryland. I’ve lived and worked in many countries and cities including London England, Tehran Iran, Bonn Germany, Paris France, Alicante Spain, Delhi India, and my favorite of all Washington, DC of great US of A. Two of the greatest Washington, DC based companies I worked for and very proud of are Yurie Systems which was sold to Lucent in 1998 for $1.23 B and that I founded in 1999. I am currently the founder and awesomizer @

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