AT&T Mends Mobile Facebook Glitch

AT&T Inc. (T) wireless customers logging into their Facebook accounts no longer should sign into someone else’s page.

That was happening over the weekend in what AT&T termed “a limited number of instances.” A server software glitch put some AT&T customers using their mobile devices into the wrong Facebook accounts. AT&T says it installed new security measures and had Facebook disable subscriber identification information that let people automatically log in.

The problems added another layer of concern over Facebook and privacy – over the mobile Web, in particular. Until this weekend, however, no one had reported being able to access someone else’s page and view – not to mention, have the ability to change – their private data. If such issues continue, though, AT&T, other wireless carriers and mobile users will be open to all kinds of security nightmares.

And the number of people using Facebook Mobile does not stand to decrease. As of last September, after Google optimized its software for Android, Facebook boasted 65 million mobile users – up from 20 million at the start of the year.

Since launching Facebook Mobile in 2006, “we’ve grown far beyond what was then a fairly basic mobile site,” Henri Moissinac, director of the company’s mobile unit, said in a September 2009 blog post. “We have translated the mobile site into other languages, launched Facebook SMS and deployed a wide range of applications for hundreds of mobile handsets, including Facebook for Blackberry, Facebook for iPhone and Facebook for Nokia.”

The growth was so dramatic, in fact, that wireless carriers begged Facebook to cut the amount of data in its mobile Web versions. Facebook Mobile users tend to use the service twice as much as stationary, Web-only Facebookers. To that point, if mobile use of Facebook and other data-intensive services continues to skyrocket, carriers are going to be facing a serious bandwidth crunch – and, quite possibly, more security troubles – in a very short time.

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