MySpace shared user data with advertisers: WSJ

The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that sister News Corp. property MySpace has been giving advertising companies data that could identify members of the social networking service.

MySpace and some third-party applications popular at the online community transmitted unique ID numbers that could be used to find profile pages that could contain names, pictures, gender, and more about a person, the Journal reported.

"Knowledge of a public user ID does not give anyone access to private user data," a MySpace spokesman said in response to an AFP inquiry.

"We share non-personally identifiable information with advertising companies as part of our ad serving process."

MySpace maintained that its terms of service prohibit third-party developers from sharing any user data, including public ID numbers.

"It has recently come to our attention that several third party app developers may have violated these terms and we are taking appropriate action against those developers," the spokesman said.

Actions taken "regularly" to enforce terms of use at the online community include suspending or removing offending applications, according to MySpace.

Social networking king Facebook on Thursday said it planned to start encrypting user identification data that had been inadvertently leaking out through games and other outside applications synched to profile pages.

The move came just days after a Wall Street Journal article exposed the problem, making no mention of the situation at MySpace.

Facebook eclipsed MySpace to become the world's most popular social network with around 500 million users, but it has been dogged by complaints about privacy protection.

MySpace re-invented itself as an online community for music makers and lovers. News Corp. planned to relaunch the service by the end of this year, targeting a younger audience and putting a premium on "self-expression."

MySpace, which News Corp. bought for 580 million dollars in 2005, still claims to have a healthy user base.