MySpace Accused of 2-for-1 Data Breach, WSJ Reports

Dennis Faas's picture

Like Facebook before it, MySpace has been accused of privacy violations by sharing user details with third-party advertisers. The new story, published in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), came after claims the newspaper had kept the article under wraps for business reasons.

The claims about MySpace are similar to those involving Facebook. For example, last week it was reported that the companies behind games and other add-on applications on the site were sharing user data with advertisers, a breach of Facebook rules. Facebook itself believes this was done inadvertently through a technical loophole.

Previously, Facebook had come under fire when it emerged that advertisers were able to see the user IDs of those people who clicked on their ads.

MySpace Accused Of Two-For-One Data Breach

MySpace has been implicated in claims its users suffered both types of data abuse, albeit it in a less serious manner. It's also claimed that the way MySpace works means the user IDs are transmitted to advertisers, despite previous complaints and a promise to end the practice.

As with Facebook, knowledge of a user ID means advertisers can theoretically locate user profiles and target to that particular demographic (for example). It's less serious in this case, as MySpace users do not have to list their real name anywhere on their profile, plus the range of information is much narrower than on Facebook.

It's also been revealed that some application developers have been sharing the user IDs of their MySpace customers. A MySpace spokesman told the Wall Street Journal it would take appropriate action against the developers. (Source:

WSJ Reportedly Hesitates to Break Story

The Wall Street Journal story came just a day after tech blogger Michael Arrington revealed that the newspaper, which is owned by the same company as MySpace, had been investigated alongside Facebook. He alleged pressure from MySpace management had led to the Journal shelving the story.

Once the story was published, Arrington claimed it was only his revelation that forced the Journal to print the story. The newspaper said this claim was "ridiculous in every sense" and that the story had always been scheduled for release on that date. (Source:

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