Facebook Deals: Discounts You Can Use. The Cost: Your Privacy?

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REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

Facebook waged war against Foursquare when it introduced the location service Places a few months ago. Earlier this week, the social networking giant went after the likes of Groupon with the launch of Deals, a feature that lets participating vendors send promos directly to your phone (provided you’ve “checked-in” using Places, of course). 

But the real casualty with all of these developments may be your privacy.

As Facebook encroaches beyond your life as a social butterfly and into your life as a consumer, a lot more is at stake. Personal information you inadvertently broadcast about when, how and where you spend your money is now up for grabs. While most everyone can appreciate a good discount, this shrewd feature may also result in more impulsive purchases, particularly after a breakup (which Facebook already knows about) or if you use your credit card willy-nilly.

The problem at the end of the day is that Facebook is still not secure. Whereas your bank offers secure browsing, Facebook doesn’t even warn its users that there’s a privacy issue in the first place. As Forbes‘ Kashmir Hill reports, all you may need to hack Facebook is Firefox, a plug-in called Firesheep and public WiFi. She notes how one blogger purportedly looked at what a fellow Wi-Fi user at a New York Starbucks bought on Amazon and sent him a message about it from his own Facebook account.

Unfortunately, a company spokesperson Hill asked about this issue only had this to say: “We have been making progress testing SSL access across Facebook and hope to provide it as an option in the coming months [italics mine]. As always, we advise people to use caution when sending or receiving information over unsecured Wi-Fi networks.”

As for us in NewsFeed, we advise that you remember that, when it comes to your privacy, Facebook isn’t your friend. (via Forbes)