Feeds

Facebook developers exiled for selling user IDs to brokers

Data broker comes clean

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Facebook is taking action against developers who flouted company rules by selling unique user IDs to a data broker.

The unnamed developers, which numbered fewer than 12, won't have access to Facebook communication channels for six months, Facebook platform engineer Mike Vernal said on Friday. They also will be required to submit their data practices to a third-party auditor to confirm they comply with Facebook policies.

Facebook has also reached an agreement with data broker Rapleaf, which according to a Wall Street Journal investigation linked Facebook user IDs it got from games developers to its own database of Internet users, which it sells. Rapleaf will delete all the IDs in its possession and has promised not to conduct similar activities in the future.

“In taking these steps, we believe we are taking the appropriate measures to ensure people stay in control of their information, while providing developers the tools they need to create engaging social experiences,” Vernal said. “We look forward to broader cooperation from everyone in the web community to confront issues that impact all of us.”

The action comes after the WSJ caught Facebook transmitting the user IDs of those playing some of the site's most popular games to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies. The disclosure came even as Facebook's terms of service promised that personally identifiable information would never be sold to advertisers or data brokers.

The allegations are now part of a federal lawsuit filed against Zynga, developer of some of the social network's most popular apps. The complaint claims Zynga collected and shared the IDs of 218 million users. Zynga has said the complaint is without merit. A similar lawsuit has been filed against Facebook.

The user IDs by themselves don't reveal personal information, but when combined with other information, they could jeopardize user privacy, critics contend. Facebook recently introduced plans to encrypt user IDs to prevent inadvertent sharing. So-called parameter encryption could make it harder for data brokers, intelligence agencies and other snoops to track the activities of Facebook users. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
'Regin': The 'New Stuxnet' spook-grade SOFTWARE WEAPON described
'A degree of technical competence rarely seen'
You really need to do some tech support for Aunty Agnes
Free anti-virus software, expires, stops updating and p0wns the world
You stupid BRICK! PCs running Avast AV can't handle Windows fixes
Fix issued, fingers pointed, forums in flames
Privacy bods offer GOV SPY VICTIMS a FREE SPYWARE SNIFFER
Looks for gov malware that evades most antivirus
Patch NOW! Microsoft slings emergency bug fix at Windows admins
Vulnerability promotes lusers to domain overlords ... oops
HACKERS can DELETE SURVEILLANCE DVRS remotely – report
Hikvision devices wide open to hacking, claim securobods
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.