Facebook Temporarily Bans App Developers Who Leaked Out User Information

In a great blow to those allegedly mischievous Facebook app developers who have been looking to churn out extra bucks illegally, Facebook has decided to suspend some app developers for a period of six months. This is an aftermath of the revelation by the site that a third party data broker has been buying user information from these app developers.

According to the Facebook Developers Blog, many of the popular Facebook apps have been passing on user IDs, which help the data brokers, find user information such as their name, contact details and in some cases even the details of their friends. This way there are at least 25 advertising and data firms that have benefited from the data theft.

Not only have the developers been put on suspension, but they have also been directed to submit their data practices to an audit in the future to ensure that they comply with the privacy policy of the company. This new decision could possibly have an impact on those small time developers too who are yet to get themselves established.

Though Facebook officials did not officially disclose the data broker, there is Rapleaf, a San Francisco based Data Aggregation Company that seems to have been getting access to some user information.After a round of discussion, it has issued an agreement to delete all Facebook user information it has in its kitty and also to stay away from the site.  However, it was still unclear whether Rapleaf is the data broker in question.

Facebook Privacy

Facebook also made it clear to its users that it never sold and will not sell any user information for the sake of mere gains. It in fact has a stringent policy to handle data brokers, who try to mar its brand image. It will also adopt various measures to ensure that users stay in control of their information.

My Two Cents: Any probable outcomes? There could be a debate or a complaint from these lesser known developers as earlier too, there has been an instance where Zynga, whose app Farmville is a big hit in Facebook, was also found to have leaked the user data. So what as happened to that case? Moreover, quite a number of lesser known apps have been blocked temporarily on the mere ground of suspicion. We could be seeing them complaining too.

What I also don’t understand is the fact that when we search for someone and a user profile is displayed on search engine results, not only do we see his or her brief information, but also his or her friend’s. Can this be considered an act of data leakage? What’s your take on this matter?

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