Be careful what you view on Facebook

I'm not one to complain about a free service like Facebook, especially when it works so well at keeping people in touch, but... I was very surprised to discover that links I view (but don't like) in my feed appear in friends' timelines. All I have to do is click the link, and that fact is potentially broadcast to all my friends. Doesn't that seem a bit too revealing?

Let me make it clear:

  1. One of your friends shares a link, and it appears in your feed
  2. You click on that link, usually out of idle curiosity
  3. Your friends' feeds will now (possibly) report the fact that you 'read an article'
  4. You will now (probably) receive notifications of your own, from people commenting how hilarious it was that you looked at such a daft page

All potentially embarrassing of course, but what about the security considerations? What if the link is malicious in some way? You get hit by a dodgy phishing attempt for example, but so do all your friends! It seems like a recipe for disaster, as malicious links go viral.

I've had a look through Facebook's privacy settings, but there is nothing to stop this behaviour.

Update: This isn't quite as sinister or widespread as I first thought. It turns out that a Facebook app (The Guardian) I'd authorised a while ago was the one that posted as me. It's worth looking through your list of installed Facebook apps, and decide if you can trust them to 'post as me'.


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