Facebook Communications Leaked Antitrust Behaviors, Admits 100 Developers Had Access To User Data
Facebook Communications Leaked Antitrust Behaviors, Admits 100 Developers Had Access To User Data by Aaron Kesel for Activist Post
Facebook states that even after the company locked down its Groups’ application programming interface (API) last year, some app developers retained improper access to information about the site’s millions of members, according to a Facebook blog post.
Facebook notes that roughly 100 developers might have accessed user information since Facebook changed its rules in April of 2018, and at least 11 of those devs accessed member data in the last 60 days. Facebook now says it has cut all partners off from that data.
Facebook Group administrators are able to use third-party tools to manage their groups, giving apps information about its users’ activity. However, since the changes last year, developers shouldn’t be able to see individual members’ names, profile pictures, or unspecified other profile data.
Facebook suspended tens of thousands of app developers in September amid a privacy investigation into how developers use the data, which the company started after the Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Guardian reported.
This comes after a series of privacy scandals, such as Cambridge Analytica, that may have put the personal information of its users at risk, as well as numerous times the company has been caught spying on its users or slipping up with its overall security.
The FTC’s probe of Facebook began in March of last year in response to big social’s entanglement with Cambridge Analytica, a political consultancy firm connected to a U.S. subsidiary (SHELL COMPANY) of a UK defense contractor SCL Group, Strategic Communication Laboratories, that improperly accessed data on 87 million of the social site’s users to use for campaign targeting for U.S. President Donald Trump through his former advisor Steve Bannon. According to reports, Facebook knew for an entire three years that Cambridge Analytica was abusing and misusing user data but did absolutely nothing.
Facebook also got entangled in a bug in December of last year that gave app developers access to private user photos including those shared on Marketplace or Facebook Stories and unposted pictures — an absolute privacy nightmare. The Facebook blog states, “that some third-party apps may have had access to a broader set of photos than usual for 12 days between September 13 to September 25, 2018.” However, who’s to say the bug wasn’t preexisting for quite some time and this is just to save face for the company?
Facebook also announced another privacy issue last year: A software bug “unblocked” some people who had previously been blocked by another user, meaning the unblocked user could suddenly see some posts from the person who blocked them or message them on the Messenger app. The bug affected 800,000 users and was live for about a week at the end of May and early June according to the social company.
There is also the issue of 14 million Facebook users who thought they were posting only to their friends or smaller groups when they actually had been posting that content publicly due to their privacy settings being changed for days, according to Wired.
The New York Times reported a bombshell in December of last year detailing the secret relationship that Facebook had with the tech companies including Amazon, Microsoft, Spotify, and Yahoo just to name a few. The Times report was backed by 50 former employees of the company and its partners, as well as documents for the deals.
The official corporate partnerships with Facebook totaled more than 150 companies, which The Times notes that the oldest deal dates back to 2010, one year prior to Facebook’s brokered deal with the FTC for its privacy practices. One has to wonder if the social giant disclosed these type of deals to the FTC one year later when it was under scrutiny — more than likely, probably not.
“For years, Facebook gave some of the world’s largest technology companies more intrusive access to users’ personal data than it has disclosed, effectively exempting those business partners from its usual privacy rules, according to internal records and interviews.” The Times wrote.
“The special arrangements are detailed in hundreds of pages of Facebook documents obtained by The New York Times. The records, generated in 2017 by the company’s internal system for tracking partnerships, provide the most complete picture yet of the social network’s data-sharing practices. They also underscore how personal data has become the most prized commodity of the digital age, traded on a vast scale by some of the most powerful companies in Silicon Valley and beyond,” The Times added.